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We combat natural disasters with acts of God. Image

We combat natural disasters with acts of God.

Disasters of incredible magnitude call for people of incredible generosity.

Natural disasters in the U.S. cost over $300 billion dollars in 2017 alone.

Devastating hurricanes, wildfires, extreme flooding and tornadoes destroy more than homes; they break spirits and hearts.

We bring immediate help and long-term healing to survivors, home and abroad.

How we help disaster survivors

Many first responders say that The Salvation Army is the first to have boots on the ground and the last to leave when disaster strikes.

This is because we're already present in most communities. Our staff and volunteers are part of that community, working for weeks, months or even years to help their neighbors until the scars of destruction are covered with hope and renewal. Our disaster services teams also respond year-round to local emergencies - like house fires - serving survivors and first responders.

24 HOUR EMERGENCY NUMBER: (412) 232-6804

Click Here to view the latest Emergency Disaster Services Newsletter

Click here to order items from the Western PA EDS Online Resale Shop.

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.

Our emergency response services are activated on short notice, based on notification from federal, state and local governments. The Salvation Army is often the first on scene and provides the following immediate response activities: Food and hydration, shelter, cleanup and communication assistance to put victims in touch with their loved ones.

Depending on the magnitude of the disaster, The Salvation Army may continue providing immediate response services such as emergency shelter and food service throughout the recovery process. We often coordinate with government entities to develop long-term disaster recovery plans, including restoration and rebuilding initiatives, disaster social services, and in-kind donations to the victims.

During a major disaster, time is of the essence in letting families know 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).

In the aftermath of a major disaster, The Salvation Army provides spiritual comfort and emotional support 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 talk. As is true with all Salvation Army services, disaster relief and recovery services are provided to all in need without discrimination.

Every Thursday at 10:30am and 9:00pm The Salvation Army EDS Canteen offers a community meal on the Northside in Pittsburgh to approximately 80-100 people.

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.

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 clean-up kits to disaster survivors annually, so they are able to get started on the road to recovery.

We know it won’t undo what’s 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 needs. 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.

We recruit, train and deploy disaster volunteers, sometimes by the thousands. We also help coordinate community volunteers during large-scale efforts.

When an active shooter situation began at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, local emergency management officials called for The Salvation Army to respond.  Dispatching three canteen trucks to different locations around the perimeter of the scene, our EDS personnel immediately provided food, beverages and comfort to the emergency responders, family members of the victims and fellow congregants.  An emergency of this scale required considerable supplies and personnel.  As the investigation continued, we remained in place for ten days serving law enforcement, investigative units, families and caregivers. With special consideration to the Jewish community, our EDS Director formed a partnership with the Jewish Community Center to secure and serve kosher foods, assist families with funeral arrangements, and provide spiritual care to survivors, responders and others affected by working at the scene.  Over the course of two weeks, The Salvation Army provided 2,354 meals, 4,184 beverages and logged 464 hours of support from staff, officers and volunteers.


Become a Specially-Trained Disaster Volunteer

We need people like you, ready and willing to help at any moment, to join our team. To be considered for service when the next disaster strikes, you will need some training and education in advance. We are always seeking skilled retired or semi-retired professionals to serve in several leadership functions as well. Volunteer opportunities may include:

  • FEEDING: You may assist in distributing and/or preparing food and drinks for first responders and survivors of emergency situations.
  • EMPATHIZING: Volunteers lend a sympathetic ear to those involved in a disaster.
  • MAJOR DISASTERS: In some cases, doctors, nurses and other paraprofessionals may serve at large-scale disasters locally, nationally or internationally.
  • CELEBRATING: You might enjoy providing support for community events like fairs, parades and celebrations.


Become a Volunteer

We bring immediate help and long-term healing to survivors, home and abroad.

Other Ways We Meet Needs