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Disaster can strike at any moment, make sure you and your family are prepared.
Every year, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, droughts, floods, and other natural disasters pose a devastating threat to our communities. The impact of disasters causes Americans emotional damage and $145 billion in losses as of 2021, according to climate.gov.
In the midst of a terrifying disaster, it can be hard to know your next step. Although natural disasters are hard to prevent, through planning, knowledge, and supplies, you can be ready to protect yourself and your family.
The Salvation Army is recognized by the Robert T. Stafford Emergency and Disaster Assistance Act as a relief and disaster assistance organization. Specially trained members of our Emergency Disaster Services team are providing spiritual comfort and emotional support to people coping with trauma resulting from the aftermath of disasters.
We maintain a fleet of emergency response vehicles across the U.S for disaster aid, which include mobile canteens and kitchens. We also operate warehouses nationwide to store food, water, and medicine.
Across the nation, The Salvation Army has emergency shelters staffed with emergency service personnel and caseworkers to help your family get back on your feet in the event that a disaster has caused you to lose your job or home. Learn more about our emergency shelter programs.
Preparation is essential to effectively serving others in disaster recovery. Just like families must make preparations for potential dangers, disaster relief workers prepare by taking training classes. Courses are designed for adult learners, focusing on group interaction and cooperative learning. Training courses include classes in incident management, canteen operations, food service, emotional and spiritual care, as well as basic first aid and CPR training.
Find your nearest location to sign up for disaster preparedness training today.
To survive a disaster, it is important that your family knows the answers to these questions:
After an emergency, you may be forced to ride out a storm, shelter in place, or evacuate. In any disaster situation, it's imperative that you have the supplies to survive on your own for several days. A disaster preparedness kit should contain basic household items you may need during an emergency. You should ensure you have vital supplies at home, work, and your car since you never know when a disaster may strike.
Your disaster preparedness supplies should include the following:
After assembling your emergency kit, make sure to keep it maintained, so it's ready when you need it. Make sure to:
During an emergency, the first concern is often the safety of your family. Since your family may not be in the same place when a disaster strikes, creating a communication network is vital to ensure everyone is safe and accounted for when it happens. It is also important to identify responsibilities for each member of your household and how you will work together as a team.
You and your family members should all have:
Fires or floods are the typical disaster causes for an evacuation, but industrial accidents and other hazardous occurrences can also warrant the need to flee. Your local government usually makes the call if an evacuation is mandatory or optional.
It is vital to create an evacuation plan in the event of a disaster to ensure you and your family get to safety at the appropriate time.
Violent winds, deadly flooding, and the power to level buildings are all risks associated with hurricanes. These are dangerous tropical cyclones that can happen along any U.S. coast or any territory near the Atlantic or Pacific oceans. Your risk from a hurricane skyrockets in summer and fall.
To prepare in the event of a hurricane in your area:
Learn how the Salvation Army helped prepare for Category 4 Hurricane Ian.
Tornadoes are violently rotating air columns that extend down from a thunderstorm, often called nature's most violent act. Their spinning funnels can reach speeds of up to 300 miles per hour, devastating entire communities in minutes. But it's possible to stay safe in the event of a tornado.
Flooding is a temporary overflow of water onto normally dry land. Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States, and their waters are deceptively dangerous. Six inches of moving water can knock you down. Two feet can sweep your car away. Failing to evacuate flooded areas or entering floodwaters can lead to injury or death.
When the waters rise, this is how to stay safe:
An earthquake is a sudden, rapid movement of the ground caused by shifting rocks deep under the earth's surface. Earthquakes can cause fires, tsunamis, landslides, or avalanches. You are at risk for earthquakes wherever you live, and they can happen at any time of the year.
The best time to prepare for any disaster is before it happens, but in the event of an earthquake, you can stay safe during it by doing the following:
Wildfires are unplanned fires that burn in natural areas like forests, grasslands, or prairies. These dangerous fires can strike and spread with alarming speed, devastating not only wildlife and natural areas, but also communities. All it takes is a dry climate, vegetation, and a spark. In seconds, roaring flames erupt.
By donating money, essential supplies, or volunteering, you can help aid our Emergency Disaster Services rebuild communities affected by natural disasters.
By donating to The Salvation Army’s disaster relief services, you make it possible for us to provide life sustaining needs of food and hydration. Donations also help us to provide emergency assistance in the form of cleaning supplies, personal hygiene, and basic clothing needs and provide the groundwork for our long-term recovery efforts and rebuilding projects.
Providing essential supplies is another necessity that donations make possible. Basic need items, as well as medical supplies and tools, help our disaster teams, survivors, and rebuilding crews in the recovery process. The following items are sometimes needed after a disaster has happened:
Please contact your local Salvation Army incident management team before collecting or trying to donate these items. The local emergency disaster services team will need to establish reception and distribution plans before these items can be collected or distributed to people in need, and a surprise in-kind donation, though well-meaning, can become an increased challenge for disaster teams and personnel.
To give back to communities affected by natural disasters, volunteering your time with The Salvation Army is an important part of the response and recovery process. Depending on the scope of the disaster and the need in the area, you may be asked to help in the following ways as a volunteer:
The best way to rebuild a community and restore hope is to work together. Get in contact with your nearest Salvation Army location to help survivors of natural disasters.
Experts for Interview
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The Salvation Army