Emergency Disaster Services

canteen at disaster scene

Our Past:

The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services team started its history in 1900 helping during the massive hurricane that decimated Galveston Texas. Our EDS canteens were in Europe during WWII and provided relief to allied soldiers when they needed it most. We are best known for our Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) teams, ready to respond to any kind of disaster in the United States and around the world.

National & International Efforts:

Local Efforts:

1900 – Galveston Texas Hurricane

1980 – Mt. St. Helens Volcano Eruption

2001 – 9/11 Terrorist Attacks

2002 – Missouri Floods

2003 – Eastern Seaboard Blackouts

2004 – Tsunami in Indonesia/Sri Lanka
2005 – Hurricane Katrina Relief & Assistance

2007 – Virginia Tech Shootings

2008 – Iowa Floods

2010 – Earthquakes in Haiti and Chile

2005 – Major Accident on US 131

2007 – GRPD Officer Koz Support

2007 – Sleepy Lake Wildfires

2007 – Nappanee Indiana Tornado

2008 – Mason County Floods

2009 – Alto Propane Gas Leak

2009 – Ludington Senior Living Center Fire

2009 – Kent City/Cedar Springs Straightline Winds

Our Present:

Withing the Western Michigan Northern Indiana Division, the EDS program operates five mobile feeding units. These vehicles, commonly called canteens, provide mobile and fixed feeding sites serving hot food and beverages to victims and first responders where needed. They also provide a place for our Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) certified volunteers to meet physical, emotional and spiritual needs.

Our EDS teams also provide donation and volunteer management. Emergency disaster related training is another very important facet of the EDS program. As always, our local EDS units are ready willing and able to lend national and international support when we are called. We offer a variety of training at different levels of involvement for the community.

Introductory Training:

- Introduction to EDS
- Disaster Food Service Handling & Safety

Intermediate Training:

- Incident Command System
- Public Information Officer
- Liason Officer
- Safety Officer
- Warehouse & Distribution Management in Disaster Operations
- Disaster Food Service, Operations and Management
- Disaster Social Services
- Communications in Disaster Operations
- Finance and Administration in Disaster Operations
- Disaster Volunteer Management
- Medical First Aid
- Shelter
- Preparing Your Congregation for an Emergency Disaster

Advanced Training:

- All Critical Incident Stress Management classes (CISM)
- Disaster Response and Recovery Planning
- Emotional and Spiritual Care in Disaster Operations


A significant development in disaster response was the creation of the Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (S.A.T.E.R.N.). It has grown from four amateur radio operators in 1988 to a worldwide network of more than 1,000 members who relay messages during crisis situations and disasters. S.A.T.E.R.N. also provides helps in finding missing persons as well as Emergency Ham Radio communications.

If you are interested in learning more about the Emergency Disaster Services program please contact James Warfield (james_warfield@usc.salvationarmy.org) or call (616) 459-3433 ext. 1508.