The Salvation Army's Role in Disaster ServicesEDS YTD Stats

The Salvation Army is recognized by federal, state and local governments as an organization able to provide relief services to areas impacted by natural or man-made disasters within the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) National Response Framework. The Army operates in three phases when responding to a disaster.

PHASE 1 – EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS: The Salvation Army ensures its own ability to respond quickly and efficiently to a disaster while working to educate other disaster professionals and the public at large about how to prepare for an emergency situation.

PHASE 2 - IMMEDIATE EMERGENCY RESPONSE: Salvation Army personnel and resources will congregate at pre-determined staging areas, entering the impacted area once government first-responders indicate that it is safe to do so.

PHASE 3 - LONG-TERM DISASTER RECOVERY: While continuing to provide immediate response services, the Army will often coordinate with government officials to develop and execute long-term strategic disaster recovery plans.

The importance of Training

HugWith the increase of natural and man-made disasters, the role of disaster responders and  preparedness has grown substantially; and with this, the expected professionalism required for those responding. The Salvation Army has a unique footprint in disaster services, particularly in giving immediate material resources and providing critical emotional and spiritual care. Viewed by a number of agencies as experts in this field, our desire is to be at our best in offering this specialized care to those dealing with severe loss. We provide training for individuals and groups who wish to join us as Volunteer Responderrs and as Chaplains.

In order to volunteer as a Responder on one of our Emergency Disaster Service teams, the following courses are required:

  • Intro to Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services OR Local Response
  • ServSafe Food Handler (or ServSafe Manager if you already have that certification)
  • FEMA 100.b (3-hour online course, independently taken at no cost)

We also offer and recommend the following advanced EDS courses that provide training in Emotional and Spiritual Care, Emergency Social Services, and Disaster Management:

  • Essentials of Emotional and Spiritual Care (one day)
  • The Salvation Army Incident Command System (one day)
  • Emergency Assistance (one day)
  • Preparing Your Congregation for Disaster (one day)
  • FEMA 700.a (3-hour online course, independently taken at no cost; registration information below)

For those interested in serving as Chaplains during deployment, we offer a two-day course of Advanced Emotional and Spiritual Care. 

FEMA Course Information 

Each FEMA course requires approximately three hours to comple independently online and provides a basic overview of the disaster response framework that all agencies use to respond. As noted before, most agencies require anyone involved in serving to have these foundational trainings. When you visit the site, they will ask you to register as a new student.

FEMA Independent Study 100.b Intro to the Incident Command System
ICS 100, Introduction to the Incident Command System, introduces the Incident Command System (ICS) and provides the foundation for higher level ICS training. This course describes the history, features and principles, and organizational structure of the Incident Command System. It also explains the relationship between ICS and the National Incident Management System (NIMS).

FEMA Independent Study 700.a National Incident Management System
This course introduces and overviews the National Incident Management System (NIMS). NIMS provides a consistent nationwide template to enable all government, private-sector, and nongovernmental organizations to work together during domestic incidents.