Deeba Shahnaz Akhter
I7 years of Service to Humanity commonly known as Rescue 1122 provided sense of safety to the millions of citizens of Pakistan. About two-decade journey of continuous efforts was started from scratch by Dr. Rizwan Naseer with political ownership and support of then Chief Minister Ch. Pervaiz Elahi in 2004.
This comprehensive emergency preparedness, response and prevention system established under the Punjab Emergency Service Act, 2006 to provide right to emergency care to all citizens without any discrimination. The Service started from city of Lahore as Ambulance Service and gradually evolved into an integrated emergency services model for South Asia.
Today Rescue 1122 is available in all 36 districts of Punjab and is being replicated at tehsil level and other provinces of Pakistan. One of the main reasons for success of the Service is Emergency Services Academy, which was established on modern lines with purpose-built simulators for sustainable human resource development in the field of emergency management.
So far, this Academy has trained over 20,000 emergency services personnel across Pakistan, organized 10 National Rescue Challenge, 5 National CERTs/Volunteers Challenge and One SAARC Rescue Challenge.
Now the Rescue Service has become the leading emergency service of South Asia after getting international certification from United Nations in the field of Search and Rescue. The support of United Nations INSARAG, UNOCHA Pakistan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, NDMA Pakistan for international certification is highly appreciated.
The successful model of Emergency Service Rescue 1122, Pakistan was presented in 16th Regional Consultative Committee (RCC) on invitation of Ministry of the Interior and Safety (MOIS) of the Republic of South Korea and Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC)for the financing resilient development in Asia and the Pacific region.
Rescue 1122 extended their cooperation to promote regional cooperation for emergency preparedness and effective response especially in developing countries. Likewise, the model of Emergency Medical Rescue Services of Pakistan has been presented to Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Member States.
From SCO member states, the teams of Pakistan China and Russia are UN INSARAG classified, infact Pakistan Rescue Team is first UN INSARAG certified team in South Asia. Pakistan extended it cooperation for organizing SCO member States Rescue Challenge and assist other countries in the region for emergency medical and rescue training.
Today the Rescue Service has completed 17 years of serving to humanity. During this span of time, despite of all challenges over 9.9 million victims of emergencies were rescued, first modern Fire Rescue Service was established and responded over 175,000 fire incidents, saved worth over 511 billion losses with timely emergency response and professional firefighting, Motorbike Rescue Service set new standard of emergency response dealt over 800,00 emergencies in 9 divisional headquarters with average response time of 4 minutes, Patient Transfer Service was provided to over 900,000 patients from lower health facility to higher health facility.
The Community Emergency Response Teams have been established in all Union Councils of Punjab to assist in management of emergencies and safety promotion. Rescue Cadet Corps (RCC) has been started for training of students in educational institutions to have socially responsible youth and first aider at every home.
Another great initiative of Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Ahmad Khan Buzdar is Air Ambulance Service for provision of emergency services to citizens of far flung and hilly terrain areas. As per approval 10 Gyrocopter shall be provided to all divisions of Punjab.
It is pertinent to mention that all officers and employees are grateful for the great ownership of Ch. Pervaiz Elahi, contribution of the Governor Punjab Ch. Muhammad Sarwar and former government who expanded this Service in all districts and regularized employees in their tenure.
The contribution of international Organizations WHO, International Emergency Team UK, Scottish Fire Service, Strathclyde Fire Service, VSO Pakistan ICRC for providing time to time support in different fields to maintain Service standard as per international standards is highly appreciated.
The history of Service is incomplete without the great services of Rescue Shuhada. Salute to Shaheed Rescuers for their exemplary services to serve humanity. Thanks to the Government of Pakistan for presenting Gallantry award to Shaheed Rescuers of Ghakkar Plaza Operation and Sitara-i-Imtiaz to Director General and Tamga-e-Imtiaz and Governor Award to Rescue Officers.
The journey to serve humanity is still continued. May Allah give strength to all of us to maintain the standard of Service and serve humanity with same passion. Ameen
The writer is Head Community Safety & Information Rescue Punjab, can be reach at email@example.com
Deeba Shahnaz Akhter