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‘Key role’ for district emergency organisations


‘Key role’ for district emergency organisations
Chairman of the St John District Emergency Organisation John Haynes. (Picture by Jameel Springer)

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Chairman of the St John District Emergency Organisation (DEO) John Haynes is reaffirming the importance of community emergency organisations as the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season progresses.

Following a special church service held at the St John Parish Church today, Haynes said these organisations played a critical role in disaster management.

“The idea of having a voluntary arm of the Disaster Emergency Management (DEM) is really to have a cadre of trained people in the community who are able to respond after a disaster,” he said. “With the DEO, specifically the St John DEO, we have a cadre of trained persons in different disciplines – first aid, communication and for post disaster we have 56 persons who are trained in damage assessment. So that if there is any major damage or what ever little they might be, [we will] send information to the national Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) so that Government would know exactly the status when it comes to the damage in the country.”

Haynes said the role of the DEO was important prior to and after a natural disaster.

“It is critical because at the national level, emergency personnel from the fire department or police may not be able to get into the areas and we are a vulnerable parish. From Foster Hall up to Conset Bay, we are part of the Scotland District and so we concentrate a lot in that area ’cause if there is need for evacuation we may not be able to get in or get out so we have trained persons down there in various disciplines that can help themselves until someone is able to get in and help them.”

Haynes added that the organisation, which has about 74 active members, was already out in the community doing work to make sure residents were prepared, noting that the St John DEO was working with the principals of the schools in that parish to make sure the schools were ready for use as hurricane shelters.

Haynes said that the organisation had four young members and as the group went from village to village they were encouraging more people to give of their time and service.

During the church service, Reverend Anthony Harewood spoke about the importance of family and the church in instilling values, discipline and kind virtues in young people. (SB)