Salvation Army to offer free training

Emergency preparedness for natural and man-made disasters are crucial in this day and age.

The Salvation Army of Tallahassee is offering free disaster services training Friday from 9 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at its office on 2410 Allen Road.

Julie Smith, community relations and volunteer coordinator for the Big Bend, said this is a beginners’ course, so people shouldn’t worry about having prior disaster training or knowledge.  

“This course is designed for training new disaster workers who have limited disaster experience and want to begin their association with the Salvation Army’s emergency disaster services program,” Smith said. “This course provides participants with an overview of the Salvation Army’s mission and its role within disaster work.”

Volunteers will be asked to examine their own skills and interests as they go through the course to determine which areas of disaster work they are most qualified for. Those participating will also be taught how to prepare and equip themselves before, during and after their deployment to a disaster site.

The Salvation Army relies heavily on trained disaster volunteer workers to coordinate emergency relief operations and deliver fast, efficient service to disaster survivors. The Salvation Army has expanded its capacity throughout the United States to provide mass feeding, personal care items, counseling and referrals for social services for victims of weather-related and other natural disasters.

Trained volunteer disaster teams led by the Salvation Army are available to serve locally and nationwide.

Julio Da Silva, an officer of the Salvation Army’s Tallahassee Corps, said the Salvation Army is more successful in the event of a disaster when volunteers are trained early.

“As one of the leading emergency disaster services organizations in the world, Salvation Army is always in need of more trained volunteers,” Da Silva said. “After a disaster, we are flooded with untrained volunteers when we need to be focusing on supplying disaster relief to the victims. That’s why planning ahead is crucial.”  

This introductory class is required before any disaster volunteer can go into the field. This is a prerequisite to all other Salvation Army disaster trainings and will introduce fundamental concepts and terminology for more advanced courses in further disaster training.

Florida has its share of weather-related disasters with hurricanes, tornadoes, oil spills and flooding.

In 2012, Tropical Storm Debbie caused flooding in coastal areas of Wakulla and Franklin counties, and Salvation Army volunteers worked for four months to help people restore residents’ lives and properties. Severe hurricanes such as Andrew and Katrina caused terrible destruction and required extensive disaster services.

“This course introduces you to what the Salvation Army stands for, and that’s helping the disaster victims,” said Clayton Bradley, a recent participant in EDS training.  

Those interested in becoming volunteers with the Salvation Army to help others adversely affected by disasters are encouraged to participate in this introductory training course. Interested volunteers can register for the training or contact Smith at 850-222-0304 for any questions.