Last weekend, Tulsa Area Command hosted a Salvation Army disaster training.
I have always been interested in volunteering in a disaster so I was quick to sign up. Many others did as well. We offered 6 courses and had volunteers from at least 3 states attend!
Why does this matter? Because a well trained volunteer network ensure a quick, effective and organized disaster response team when it is needed most.
My class was Incident Command Systems, which is basically learning the Salvation Army version of the federal NIMS system, which is used by FEMA, local emergency management, fire departments and others. It basically ensures continuity between all the responders during a disaster. What makes the Salvation Army's command system a little different is that we have a large focus on emotional and spiritual care. Yes, we provide food, shelter and other needed items but we also offer a shoulder, prayer and reminder of God's love.
The capstone part of my course was a mock disaster where we had to set up a command structure, identify our resources, utilize them appropriately and properly delegate the disaster related issues that popped up.
What did I learn? It takes an Army to stay organized during a catastrophic event and I'm very glad The Salvation Army has a plan to handle whatever may come.