The limited capacity to deal with emergencies and disasters was putting the lives
and properties of the citizens at risk. This was evident from the fact that there
were over 95% chances that in case of emergency; the victim will not get an ambulance
for transportation, let alone timely emergency care by trained professionals. Therefore,
it was quite clear that emergency management has been long neglected in Pakistan
and there are no trained emergency paramedics even in the emergency departments
of teaching hospitals. Moreover, pre-hospital emergency ambulance, rescue and trained
fire services or a disaster response force were virtually non-existent which was
blatantly exposed during October, 2005 earthquake in Pakistan. A few ambulances
available with the NGOs lacked essential equipment and trained staff. Thus, the
citizens of Pakistan were denied even the basic right to timely emergency care in
case of any emergency or a disaster.
Therefore, the Punjab Emergency Service (Rescue 1122) started in 2004 with a hypothesis
that if you are not even prepared for an emergency do not expect a miracle in case
of a Disaster. Rescue 1122 has now developed into the largest humanitarian service
of Pakistan with strong infrastructure in all Districts of Punjab and is also providing
assistance & training to the staff of other provinces. Rescue 1122 has been able
to gain trust of people by rescuing millions of victims of emergencies through its
emergency ambulance, rescue & fire services while maintaining its average response
time of 7 minutes and standards in all 36 Districts & Tehsil of Punjab. I sincerely
hope that the Rescuers maintain the standards of the Service and continue to gain
respect & blessings of the public by maintaining a courteous professional approach.
As a result of the performance during emergencies and disasters including the devastating
floods of 2010 the Provincial Disaster Management Authority has notified Punjab
Emergency Service as the “Disaster Response Force” and the Home Department, Government
of the Punjab, has also transferred the flood relief function along with material
resources from Civil Defense to the Punjab Emergency Service on 28th May, 2011.
Rescue 1122 is also strengthening its capacity for disaster preparedness and response
in collaboration with the National & Provincial Disaster Management Authorities.
After establishing the core infrastructure comprising of essential emergency services
personnel, the ultimate vision of Rescue 1122 is prevention of emergencies through
proactive community participation in saving lives and changing minds of the society
so that we can establish disaster resilient & safer communities. In this regard,
the Community Teams have already been constituted in every district and several
initiatives are in progress to establish Safer Communities in Pakistan.
DR. RIZWAN NASEER