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The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS)
In the wake of a natural disaster, whether it be a smaller-scale event like flooding or more severe like a hurricane, The EDS team is there before, during, and after to help first responders and survivors overcome the hardships that have been heightened as a result of a disaster. The Salvation Army in the Eastern Pennsylvania & Delaware Division works closely with local emergency management officials, fire departments, and police departments to respond effectively to incidents within the community.
The Eastern Pennsylvania & Delaware Division covers 39 counties throughout Pennsylvania and Delaware. Within this region are 15 mobile feeding units (or canteens) as well as three dedicated support vehicles and seven support trailers. Some of these trailers are pre-packaged with disaster supplies such as cots, blankets and flood clean-up kits.
This equipment is strategically placed throughout the Division in the following communities: Allentown, Boyertown, Chambersburg, East Stroudsburg, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lock Haven, Philadelphia, State College, Wilkes-Barre, Williamsport, York and Wilmington, DE.
As one of the nation's major emergency relief organizations, The Salvation Army recognizes the critical importance of being prepared for natural and man-made disasters. Therefore, we work to educate other disaster professionals and the public at large about how to prepare for and respond to emergency situations, while also taking steps to ensure our own ability to respond quickly and efficiently.
In major disasters, we can coordinate or assist with cleanup and reconstruction. We have troops of volunteers to enlist for large projects like this. We also provide hundreds of thousands of cleanup kits to disaster survivors annually, so they can get started on the road to recovery.
Our mobile kitchens travel the streets to provide hot meals to survivors and relief workers. We also set up meal stations near busy work sites or in community buildings where neighbors and volunteers can gather easily for support.
In major disasters, we set up hubs that provide shelter, meals and counseling, often working with other agencies. When the best option is a short-term hotel stay, we cover the bill.
We know it will not undo what has been lost, but we can offer financial help as a step toward a brighter future. We have short-term grants for medicine, groceries, and other pressing items. When the road back to normal is a bit longer, we partner with other agencies to give you long-term financial help. You never have to worry about repaying anything we give.
In the aftermath of a major disaster, The Salvation Army provides spiritual comfort and emotional care upon request to victims and emergency workers coping with the stress of a catastrophe. Salvation Army counselors, often our ordained pastors, offer a "ministry of presence" where they are available to provide support. Individuals can request prayer or guidance from the Bible. As is true with all Salvation Army Services, disaster relief and recovery services are provided to all in need without discrimination. You can help disaster survivors by becoming a chaplain.
Our emergency response services are activated on short notice, based on notification from federal, state, and local governments. Typically, Salvation Army personnel and resources will congregate at predetermined staging areas, entering the impacted area as soon as government first responders have indicated that it is safe and constructive to do so. These immediate response activities include food and hydration services, shelter, cleanup, and emergency communication assistance to put victims in touch with their loved ones.
We work closely with other disaster relief organizations and government agencies to maximize our impact and avoid duplicating services. We are also an active member of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (NVOAD) and work with state and federal agencies to provide assistance.
We recruit, train, and deploy disaster volunteers, sometimes by the hundreds. Volunteers are trained to meet all kinds of needs by providing food, shelter, clothing, and emotional & spiritual comfort to those affected by the incident. Disaster canteens are a welcomed sight to emergency responders and victims alike by providing them with hot and cold drinks, meals and essential needs. We also help coordinate community volunteers during large-scale efforts.
During a major disaster, time is of the essence in letting families know that their loved ones are safe. We locate survivors and provide information to their family and friends through our Salvation Army Team Emergency Response Network (SATERN).
Long-Term Disaster Recovery
Depending on the magnitude of the disaster, The Salvation Army may continue providing immediate response services such as emergency shelter and food service well into the recovery process. Additionally, we often coordinate with government entities to develop long-term disaster recovery plans. These activities include restoration and rebuilding initiatives, disaster social services to address basic needs, medical expenses, or funeral costs, and in-kind donation distribution to disaster victims.