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The Salvation Army and K-LOVE partner for EDS training

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Kevin Ellers teaches a class during the EDS training offered at the Anchorage Corps.

Training aims at engaging community members interested in volunteering with The Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army and Alaska K-LOVE, a Christian radio station in Anchorage, teamed up to offer free Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) trainings for emergency first responders and others. Sometimes referred to as “psychological first aid,” CISM is designed to help people cope with traumatic events.

The two- and three-day classes took place at The Salvation Army Anchorage Corps Community Center.

By sponsoring the classes and offering them free of charge, K-LOVE helped make them accessible to all Alaskans. Organizers also hoped that at least some of those attending the training event will become a part of The Salvation Army Alaska’s growing Emergency and Disaster Services (EDS) ministry.

“Our hope is that some of those attending not already actively engaged in disaster response services will be interested in volunteering with The Salvation Army, helping us build our capacity to serve Alaska in times of crisis,” said Emergency Disaster Services Director Jenni Ragland.

Classes included “Individual and Group Crisis Intervention” (GRIN) taught by K.C. Peterson, “Emotional and Spiritual Care in Disasters,” and “Grief Following Trauma,” both taught by Kevin Ellers.

Meeting02_RaglandPeterson is a 28-year veteran of the California Fire Service who has served as a chaplain in the Sacramento Area Fire Chaplaincy and as a member of the Federation of Fire Chaplains. Ellers serves as territorial disaster services coordinator for The Salvation Army in the U.S. Central Territory and as president of the Institute for Compassionate Care.

Those who could benefit from the trainings include law enforcement and health care professionals, firefighters, social workers, clergy, emergency medical technicians and others.

“Although the classes are targeted towards first responders, the information presented and taught in training classes is really beneficial in many situations,” Ragland said.

Class participants developed skills to bring back to communities throughout Alaska, including Petersburg, Haines, Homer, Fairbanks, Kenai and Nome—as well as to the Anchorage and Mat-Su region.

When disasters occur, The Salvation Army’s relief staff and volunteers are often the first on the scene and among the last to leave. In Alaska, staff in Anchorage support and direct the Army’s network of services in 17 communities statewide. The Salvation Army Alaska has long provided relief services and support throughout the state, from the 1964 earthquake to the May 2013 Yukon River flooding crisis in Galena. While every response is unique, the core of The Salvation Army’s disaster response program typically includes services including mass feeding, mass shelter, pastoral care/counseling and donation management.

For more information, visit salvationarmyalaska.org or contact Jenni Ragland, service extension and EDS director, at 907-339-3440.

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