John M. Saunders, Partners in Preparedness

John Saunders has been the Canadian Red Cross Ontario Director of Disaster Management & International Response for the past four years. As the Provincial Director, John oversees disaster preparedness, prevention, mitigation, relief and recovery efforts within the province of Ontario. He is tasked to lead program development and is responsible for the overall management of these areas.

John gained a wealth of experience in Emergency Medicine and Emergency Management during his years as a paramedic in Massachusetts and training with the US Coast Guard’s Search & Rescue team.

Prior to joining the Red Cross, John was a private consultant in Toronto with a primary focus on business continuity planning, Health & Safety and corporate emergency plan development.

John’s consulting business allowed him to serve as a disaster response volunteer for close to five years prior to selling his business to join the Red Cross as a staff member. In his work with the Red Cross and with other organizations, he has been involved in the response to 9/11, SARS, several American Hurricanes, the Peterborough flood, multiple evacuations of First Nation Communities and was provincial lead in the coordination of the receiving of Canadians fleeing from the conflict in Lebanon/Israel (summer of 2006). He was also the Red Cross EOC Manager during the initial response to the 2004 Tsunami.

John has been actively engaged in the continuing development of the Emergency Management profession, working with the International Association of Emergency Managers as well as being a subject matter expert on the Advisory Committee for the development of the CSA Emergency Management Standard Z1600.

During his tenure as Provincial Director, he has focused on internal capacity building and the strengthening of key provincial relationships. John has also been a strong advocate and leader for the consideration of those with special needs and vulnerable populations in respect to emergency planning and response.