Emergency Disaster Services
On September 8, 1900, a hurricane devastated Galveston, Texas leaving more than 5,000 people dead. The city, sustaining extensive property damage, was virtually destroyed. While survivors were still reeling from this onslaught of nature, Frederick Booth-Tucker, National Commander, ordered Salvation Army officers from across America to proceed to the disaster site to provide spiritual and material assistance.
This, The Salvation Army's first national disaster appeal for funds, was generously supported by caring Americans. From these beginnings a century ago, The Salvation Army has developed local, regional and national disaster services programs. Whether it be a local incident or a major disaster, Salvation Army staff and volunteers are often the first on the scene and the last to depart, honoring a century-old commitment to serve those in need, at the time of need, and at the place of need.
The red shield continues to be a beacon of 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. Salvation Army disaster response teams, coordinated and directed by commissioned officers and trained personnel, supported by volunteers, are "on call" to serve at all disasters which place a community or its populace at risk or which may disrupt or destroy family security and well-being.