Deeba Shahnaz Akhter
The Punjab Emergency Service (Rescue 1122) which started on 14th October 2004, has completed 15 years of serving to humanity providing emergency services in all 36 Districts of Punjab, and during this span of time, the Rescue Services rescued over 7.5 million emergency victims of different emergencies, established Ambulance, Rescue & Fire Services and Community Emergency Response Teams in all Districts of Punjab.
History is evident, that start of Rescue 1122 was necessitated after failure of repeated attempts to revitalize and modernize the old organizations mandated for emergency management. At that time, the Service was started by Dr Rizwan Naseer with full political ownership and support of then Chief Minister Ch. Pervaiz Elahi,. Now the Punjab Emergency Service (Rescue 1122) is the leading emergency humanitarian service of Pakistan with infrastructure in all 36 districts of Punjab and is providing technical and training assistance to other provinces. The Punjab Emergency Service Act was also promulgated in 2006 to provide legal cover to the Emergency Services Reforms initiated in 2004 from Lahore.
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”.
Now the Punjab Emergency Service (Rescue 1122) is the leading emergency humanitarian service of Pakistan and it was a unique initiative to serve humanity without any discrimination. This is the only reason that every government owned it and served the Nation as the system of emergency management is self-explanatory due to its professional service delivery. The efforts of Founder Director General Dr Rizwan Naseer and his pioneer team, who burns their midnight oil to establish an exemplary model of Emergency Service in Punjab which has been replicated in other provinces of Pakistan, will always be remembered.
After the establishment of Service in Lahore, the emergency management system was established in Rawalpindi and Faisalabad and then across Punjab. Congrats to all Rescue Team including Officers from Rescue Headquarters, Emergency Services Academy, District Emergency Officers and their teams for training of over 18000 rescuers and providing services to over 7.5 million helpless victims of emergencies & disasters and maintained the standards of this Service and gain prayers of the community members with hard work; commitment and dedication. The continuous journey of Rescue Service is full of struggle and new initiatives including establishment of modern Fire Rescue Service resulted timely response and professional firefighting to over 136,000 fire incidents during last 15 years and saved losses worth over 400 billion. It is pertinent to mention that all officers are grateful for the contribution of the Governor Punjab Ch Muhammad Sarwa, Mr Hanzala Malik Scottish parliamentarian of that time for establishment of modern fire service in Pakistan and training of Rescue officers from UK fie Service.
the field of firefighting, the Firefighters of Emergency Service Rawalpindi set an example of bravery, professionalism and serving to humanity by scarifying their lives during Ghakkar plaza Fire& Rescuer disaster. Rescue Service always pay rich tribute to unsung Heroes of the Nation and salute to 19 Shaheed Rescuers and their valuable contribution in humanitarian organization will always be remembered. Thanks to the Government of Pakistan…
—The writer is Liaison Officer Pakistan Rescue Team