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The Punjab Emergency Service (Rescue 1122) is the largest emergency humanitarian service of Pakistan having an infrastructure in all 36 districts of Punjab and is providing technical assistance to other provinces. Rescue 1122 has rescued over 3.10 millions victims of emergencies through its Emergency Ambulance Rescue and Fire services and Community Emergency Response Teams while maintaining its average response time of 7 minutes and standards in all districts of Punjab province with population of over 80 million.

The Punjab Emergency Service Act was promulgated in 2006 to provide legal cover to the Emergency Services Reforms initiated in 2004 from Lahore. Start of Rescue 1122 was necessitated by failure of repeated attempts to revitalize and modernize the old organizations mandated for emergency management. Now as a result of the performance of Rescue 1122 during emergencies and disasters in recent years it has also been notified as the Disaster Response Force by the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Government of the Punjab.

Technical assistance is also being provided to other provinces for the establishment of an effective emergency management system so that the citizens of other provinces could be provided with the basic right to timely emergency care in case of any emergency/ disaster.

Rescue 1122 established in these provinces includes Emergency Ambulance Rescue and Fire Services and community safety program. In this regard technical assistance has been provided to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Gilgit-Baltistan Karachi Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Apart from technical assistance in project designing and implementation the emergency staff from these provinces was also trained at the Emergency Services Academy Lahore.

The District Emergency Officer (DEO) is responsible for the day-to-day operational management and administration of the service in the districts under the supervision of District Coordination Officer who is also the Chairman of the District Emergency Board. The Board has become an effective organization for improving inter-departmental coordination and prevention of emergencies based on review of emergency data. The Director General who is the Chief Executive Officer of the organization is mainly responsible for overall operations monitoring to ensure uniformity and quality amongst districts recruitment and training research planning and development.

Rescue 1122 is not just providing the emergency victims with the basic right to timely emergency care but believes in "saving lives and changing minds". This is vividly reflected in the mission statement of the Service which is "development of safer communities through establishment of an effective system for emergency preparedness response and prevention."

In order to establish safer communities Rescue 1122 is implementing the Community Safety Program which includes capacity building of community emergency response teams school safety program training of citizens in life saving skills and collaboration with Chamber of Commerce and Industries for fire and work safety.

Emergency Services Academy has also been established for sustainable human resource development in the field of emergency management which has been long neglected in Pakistan. This Academy is now imparting training not only to the emergency officials of Punjab but also to other provinces of Pakistan. The Academy imparts training in the fields of emergency medical training fire fighting fire prevention and investigation urban search and rescue high angle rescue confined space rescue water rescue and other emergency management skills.

With the passage of time Rescue 1122 has proved its worth and now it is not only considered as essential service but also become role model for other organisation. Rescue 1122 is delivering to the society despite manifold challenges and lacking resources.

DG Rescue Punjab Dr. Rizwan Naseer is spearheading all activities to ensure uniform standard of the Service and smooth emergency services delivery without discrimination.

The emergency data showed that 50833 victims of emergencies were rescued by Punjab Emergency Service (Rescue 1122) while conducting 49738 rescue operations in January 2015 all over the Punjab with average response time of 07 minutes.

The emergency calls to which Rescue 1122 responded include: 16125 road traffic accidents 26227 medical emergencies 919 fire incidents 1430 crimes 21 drowning incidents 47 building collapses 20 explosions and 4899 miscellaneous operations. The Provincial Monitoring Cell informed the meeting that the road traffic accidents and fire incidents were slightly increased as compared to the previous month.

DG Rescue Punjab Dr. Rizwan Naseer said that Rescue 1122 has saved lives of over 3 million emergency victims through emergency management system and now we are moving towards Changing Minds through Community Based Disaster Risk Management (CBDRM) and Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) in order to build socially responsible; healthy safer and resilient communities in Pakistan. Keeping in view the current situation of the country he directed all the District Emergency Officers to carry out hazards and vulnerability assessment in respective districts and involve community in their community safety initiatives. He further said that in order to focus on Changing Minds Rescue 1122 shall adopt community centered approach for disaster management through community involvement in hazards identification vulnerability and capacity assessment and risk reduction measures with community collaboration.

Dr. Rizwan Naseer wants all the DEOs to motivate community members Community Based Organizations (CBOs) and other volunteers and convince them that our day-to-day emergencies are preventable by strict implementation of laws. "Just we have to change our perception towards emergencies" he said adding we can also purify our communities from social evils by adopting the approach of community watch and by identifying the perpetrators in our society.
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Publication:Pakistan & Gulf Economist
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Feb 15, 2015

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