In Canada, The Salvation Army’s emergency disaster services (EDS) program began back in December 1917 in response to the Halifax, N.S. disaster. The Salvation Army dispatched personnel from across the country to assist with relief efforts that lasted for months. In addition to caring for the practical needs of those impacted, such as food and clothing, Salvation Army officers provided emotional and spiritual support to responders. “We do not know how we would have gotten along without them,” wrote R.T. MacIlreith, chairman of the relief committee.
Today, the Army’s EDS has grown into an international network involving thousands of trained personnel worldwide, many of whom are volunteers. EDS personnel respond to incidents of various sizes and scopes. In keeping with its holistic ministry, the Army provides support that meets the immediate, as well as long term, physical, emotional and spiritual needs of disaster survivors and responders.