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Answering the Call: Salvation Army EDS in 2012


This entry is from Anthony DiStefano, Director of the Midland Divsion’s Emergency Disaster Services

The April floods of the Mississippi River in Southeastern Missouri stretching from Cape from Girardeau to New Madrid; the floods of the same month of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers in both Southwestern and Southeastern Illinois encompassing the entire lower portion of the State from Chester to Shawneetown; the Missouri tornados in Sunset Hills and Sedalia; the flooding of the Missouri River in July of the northeastern portion of the state all the way to the interior of the state at Washington; about three dozen auto accidents; an almost endless parade of residential and business fires; and the devastating Joplin tornado: The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) department of the Midland Division was present at all of these events.

I expect 2012 to be much the same.

Canteens, trailers, communications equipment, food, beverages, clothing, temporary housing, organization, discipline, motivation, and the most important ingredient of all, the life-blood of The Salvation Army’s EDS department – our volunteers.

Even though each and every disaster is unique in its own right, the variables for dealing with each disaster change very little, and the goals never change.

The goal we are all striving for in the EDS department is getting as much help and support as quickly as possible to as many men, women and children affected by the disaster they are currently living through.

To have the EDS department prepared to meet any disaster, I have instituted monthly training across the Midland Division and in every Corps and Service Extension unit; required new crews to be formed in all Corps and Service Extension units and to work in tandem with existing crews from the same areas; begun to refurbish all canteens, vehicles and trailers, and replace those that have seen enough service already; started to acquire new, more powerful and farther-reaching communication equipment; instituted a recognition program for our volunteers, who are as I said earlier, the life-blood of The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services department. This is all done with the one goal in mind: Doing The Most Good.


Creating an emergency disaster kit

By: Anthony DiStefano, Emergency Services Director, Midland Division

Tornados, earthquakes, floods, civil unrest, and the list goes on.  Whatever the disaster may be, you may need to survive on your own once a disaster strikes. This means having your own food, water, and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least four days. Relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. Help may come in hours, or it might take days. In addition, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment, and telephones may be cut off for days, weeks, or even longer.

Recommended Items in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit:

  • Water. One gallon of water per person per day for at least four days, for drinking and sanitation.
  • Food. At least a four-day supply of non-perishable food. Can opener.
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio with extra batteries.
  • Flashlight with extra batteries.
  • First aid kit.
  • Whistle to signal for help.
  • Dustmask to filter contaminated air.
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place.
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation.
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.
  •  Local maps.
  • Cell phone with chargers.
  • Prescription medications, aspirins and glasses.
  • Infant formula and diapers.
  • Cash or traveler’s checks and change.
  • Important documents (or copies) of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container. Include paper and pencil.
  • Emergency reference material.
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted 9 parts water to 1 part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant.
  • Fire Extinguisher. Knife.
  • Matches in a waterproof container.
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items.
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels.

 Have these items ready, and you can be ready for anything!

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