Emergency Disaster Services
The Salvation Army’s first major disaster response operation was in 1900 after a devastating, unnamed hurricane hit Galveston, Texas. The city, sustaining extensive property damage, was virtually destroyed. The hurricane killed more than 8,000 people and obliterated more than 3,600 homes, nearly half the city. Salvation Army officers from across the country were sent to the disaster site to bring comfort, to do counselling, to provide practical aid, and to help in any way they could. The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services program in Canada began back in December 1917 in response to the Halifax Disaster.
Today The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services has grown into an international network involving thousands of volunteers and trained personnel worldwide. In Ontario, we respond to incidents of any size or scope. In following with our holistic ministry, we provide services that meet the immediate, as well as long term, physical, emotional and spiritual needs of disaster survivors and responders.
The Salvation Army endeavours to ease human suffering wherever it is found and draws on a wide range of resources which rapidly shift into action when a disaster strikes. The Salvation Army’s capability and experience are proven. Whether it be a local incident or a major disaster, Salvation Army staff and volunteers are often among the first on the scene and one of the last to depart, honouring a century-old commitment to serve those in need, at the time and place of need.
The Red Shield continues to be a symbol of hope and compassion; of immediate aid, psychological support and spiritual counsel to individuals and families whose lives have been disrupted or shattered by forces beyond their control.