PLANNING GROUPS MET to develop a disaster response training program.
BY CALEB SJÖGREN –
Because of The Salvation Army’s prominent role in the months following September 11, 2001, and because the Army may again be called to respond to future large-scale disasters, Lilly Endowment Inc. has dedicated $4.6 million to fund a project that will raise The Salvation Army to a new level of disaster preparation.
National headquarters, in cooperation with Potentialbilities Consulting Group of Wilmington, Delaware, is developing a standardized training program to prepare Salvation Army personnel nationwide for coordinated response efforts.
To design this program, highly experienced Salvation Army personnel and representatives from its partner agencies met in focus groups last November and constructed fifteen modules that will each become a course in the national disaster training program. Experienced facilitators from Potentialbilities Consulting Group, the project managers, led each focus group in developing an outline and contents for its course.
Training modules cover major aspects of disaster relief management at basic, intermediate, and advanced levels. Each module is self-contained, not in any sequence, so volunteers can train at their individual levels. The topics range from basic introductions for volunteers to professional disaster management training. From warehouse management to pastoral care, each course is rooted in The Salvation Army’s mission to serve Christ by meeting human needs in his name without discrimination.
A new Disaster Services track at the National Social Services Conference will provide the first testing forum for the new training modules. Emergency Disaster Services plans to launch the full program in summer 2003. As part of the Lilly Endowment Inc. grant, each United States territory has hired a training coordinator for three years as a resource to implement this program. In addition to teaching courses and training new instructors, the coordinators will oversee the continuity and quality of training throughout the territories. For more information about disaster services training or volunteering with The Salvation Army, contact your local Salvation Army unit.