Emergency Disaster Services : The Salvation Army

Location: Toronto,

In Canada, The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services program began in December 1917 in response to the Halifax Explosion, a maritime disaster in Halifax, Nova Scotia which killed approximately 2,000 people and injured an estimated 9,000 others. The Salvation Army dispatched personnel from across the country to assist with relief efforts which lasted for months. In addition to providing for the practical needs of those impacted, such as food and clothing, Salvation Army officers provided emotional and spiritual support to responders. The Salvation Army set up teams to serve meals in shelters and do other volunteer work as needed. One Army ensign found himself assisting in a hospital operating room. The Red Cross, Salvation Army and Saint John Ambulance shifted their war focus closer to home. “We do not know how we would have gotten along without them”, wrote R. T. MacIlreith, Chairman Relief Committee. Today The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) has grown into an international network involving thousands of trained personnel many of whom are volunteers. EDS personnel respond to incidents of various sizes and scopes. In following with its holistic ministry, the Army provides support that meet the immediate, as well as long term, physical, emotional and spiritual needs of disaster survivors and responders. For example, in September 2018, when six tornadoes touched down in the Ottawa ON and Gatineau QC area, The Salvation Army was immediately on the scene providing food, hydration and emotional support to those responding. In addition, EDS personnel continued to support those affected in both provinces. Working with municipal and provincial governments, as well as other partners, The Salvation Army provided vital support in both the short and long-term. The Salvation Army plays a critical role in all aspects of the emergency management continuum: mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.

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