September is National Preparedness Month
The Salvation Army has served first responders and survivors of every major natural disaster since the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 – making us experts on physical, emotional, and spiritual needs during disaster response. Before the next disaster strikes, make sure you’re ready by reviewing these preparedness tips:
- Prepare yourself, your family, and your home. Develop a family disaster plan. If you have to evacuate, where you would go? If you were separated in an emergency, how would you reconnect? Build a family disaster kit with the most essential items to survive for three to five days, starting with drinking water, essential medications, eyewear, and photocopies of identification documents.
- Prepare your community. In a disaster that affects entire communities, neighbors may be the first people able to help before emergency professionals arrive. Know who has special needs, such as the elderly or small children, and plan to check on them during a disaster. Likewise, identify people in your neighborhood with special skills or training, particularly in the medical field. Then extend this preparedness to your work, church, children’s school, and so on.
- Prepare to help others. In the United States, most municipalities have a disaster response and recovery plan coordinated by a local emergency management agency. If you want to help, one of the easiest ways is to affiliate with an existing agency engaged in disaster response and relief, like The Salvation Army. Or see if your community supports a Community Emergency Response Team.
- Don’t stop preparing. Make emergency preparedness and planning efforts more than a one-time endeavor. Revisit and update your family and neighborhood disaster plans periodically. Change the supplies in your family disaster kit so the food, water, batteries, and other supplies will stay fresh.
How The Salvation Army Serves During Times of Need
- Response and Deployment
The Salvation Army is serving in most communities long before a disaster happens. When a disaster strikes, our national network of trained disaster relief staff and volunteers provide food, hydration, cleanup kits, and hygiene supplies.
- Emotional and Spiritual Care
Immediately after a disaster and throughout recovery, we provide emotional and spiritual care to survivors and first responders. Activities include prayer, emotional support, and pastoral care.
- Long Term Recovery
Long-term recovery often takes months, and sometimes even years. Our volunteers and staff restore basic social service programs while case managers coordinate with local, state, and federal entities to implement long-term recovery plans for rebuilding.