Disaster management ‘second heartbeat’

John Haynes
John Haynes

This pillar of the community, who hails from St. John, got his start in disaster management in 1980 when he heard a distressed call on a Citizens Band radio. The distress call was coming from a fishing boat and he was able to summon the Coast Guard to the boat’s assistance.

Since then, John Haynes has taken up social responsibility for his community by ensuring that hazards such as hurricanes, floods, and fires have minimal impact on the community.

Citing disaster management as his second heartbeat, Haynes got involved in mass crowd operations at the Central Emergency Relief Organisation in the 1990s, initially on a volunteer basis.

At that time, he worked closely with Clive Lorde, a former Deputy Director of Emergency Services. Today Haynes continues to work in mass crowd operations at the Department of Emergency Management in the capacity of Mass Crowd Coordinator.

Specialising in mass crowd coordination at major Crop-Over events, Haynes has responsibility for organising and mobilising the emergency services to prevent any incidences from escalating into tragedies.

“It is always best to have emergency services at an event, rather than having to bring them in. By the time you try to get an ambulance from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, if there is one available, there could be tragedy. Being on site can alleviate any problems you may have.”

“At any event, communication is paramount because anything can happen. There is communication all throughout, where there is a medical spot with nurses and doctors, where you can treat people on site. If the accident is overwhelming, you can go to the hospital. There should be contingency plans in place. Disaster management focuses our attention on the necessity of having response groups on site with the appropriate facilities. If there are problems within the medical, it could create serious implications for security.”

Haynes, a former teacher, has trained extensively in all aspects of disaster management with institutions including the Pan American Health Organisation and Bournemouth University in England. He is also a director of the Barbados Red Cross, trained in first aid, mass casualty and mass crowd operations. In addition, Haynes has been the chairman of the St. John District Emergency Organisation since 1995.

For his outstanding community work, Haynes was awarded a Barbados Service Medal in 2008 for community work especially in the area of disasters and in 1993 he was made a Justice of the Peace.

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