3rd anniversary of first UN- INSARAG certified rescue team in South Asia | By DEEBA SHAHNAZ AKHTER


3rd anniversary of first UN- INSARAG certified rescue team in South Asia

31st October 2019 was the day, when Winston Chang from United Nations (UN) INSARAG Secretariat made the official announcement at Governor House that Today “Pakistan Rescue Team stands tall amongst the world elite as officially United Nations Classified Urban Search & Rescue Team”,this was a milestone achievement as International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) is the official certifying body of the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) for International Search & Rescue Teams.

Becoming part of the Global Network in the field of disaster response is a milestone achievement for the country and after this classification, Pakistan Rescue Team of Emergency Services Academy Rescue 1122 Lahore Pakistan is certified by UN-INSARAG to conduct search and rescue operations anywhere in the world. Congratulations to all for this International achievement.

It is further added that after this achievement Pakistan Rescue Team of Emergency Services Academy (Rescue 1122) Lahore has also become the first UN-INSARAG Certified Team in South Asia.

This highest level recognition was achieved after com-pleting an extensive evaluation process of several years under the supervision of UN-INSARAG Men-tors.

PRT has become a great honor for Pakistan, the professional capacity of the country for training of other countries in the country and South Asia region and international disaster response.

Today on 31stOctober Pakistan Rescue Team has completed three years of its UN certification and celebrating its 3rdanniversary.

On this special day we would like to recall Final Evolution of the Rescue Team that was carried out by a team of United Nations International Classifiers from Austria, England, Germany, Switzerland, Morocco, Jordan, and United Nations – IN-SARAGSecretariat in Geneva.

The team of classifi-ers included Mr. Peter Goxharaj, Christian Resch, Thomas Nesensohn, Amjad Al-Huniti, Soufi-anSamghouli, Winston Chang Wei Shen, Robert John Norman, and Sean Moore came to Lahore from 28th to 31st October 2019, evaluated different phases from documentations review to the end of the exercise during a 36 hours Simulation Exercise.

This evaluation was like a final world cup for the disaster response players as a single safety breach can cause disqualification of the Team.

Every citizen must know that this specialized Search & Rescue Team is stationed at the Emergency Ser-vices Academy Lahore Pakistan strategically located almost in the Centre of the country and can be deployed within the country or internationally in case of any disaster.

This Academy has a purpose-built rubble field for urban search & rescue training facility with trained staff and specialized equipment as per INSARAG guidelines essential for international deployment in case of a disaster.

Although, this Academy is situated in Punjab but playing the role of a national organization as over 23,000 emergency professionals across Pakistan have been trained in this Academy.

Besides that, the Academy has already organized SAARC Rescue Challenge in 2018 for capacity building of Emergency Services of SAARC countries and eleven National Rescue Challenge in order to improve coordination and uniform standard of Emergency Services in the country and six National Volunteer Community Emergency Response Team Challenges to provide a platform to volunteer teams to exhibit their professional skills and promote volunteerism.

The process of Final 36 hrs Evaluation for IN-SARAG External Classification (IEC) was a com-plete simulation exercise about the procedure from Team preparation to travel and deployment in another country and conduct of search and rescue operation in the affected country.

All steps from disaster alert, team activation, pre-deployment process including team registration, medical screening, logistic issuance, and team briefing, mobilization, and custom and immigration check of the Team to reach the affected country, coordination meetings with local authorities, set up of Reception/ Departure Center to facilitate all teams coming for help the affected country, Establishment of Base of Operation (BoO) to start the operation, Wide Area Assessment/ Search and started Rescue Operation including concrete cutting, breaching, horizontal approach rescue, crane operation, field amputation, rope rescue extrication from confined space, vertical shoring, Debriefing and Demobilization of the Team were performed as per international guidelines.

The selected member of the team also performed the role of Urban Search and Rescue Coordination Cell (UCC) as United Nations members to centrally de-ploy the different teams coming for assistance.

Dur-ing all these functions different injects were given by Exercise Control to check the team professionalism and understanding of the assignments as per INSARAG guidelines. All members were under observation.

The collective and tireless efforts of the Team Commander Dr. Rizwan Naseer, Team Leader Dr. Farhan Khalid, Exercise Controllers, all squad lead-ers, and team members globally raised the flag of Pakistan after international achievement Pakistan Rescue Team highly acknowledges and appreciates the selfless services of Mr. Edward G Pearn first Team mentor from England and the efforts of all international experts from different countries for capacity building of Team.

The support of Govern-ment of the Pakistan, Punjab, NDMA Pakistan, UN-OCHA PAKISTAN, UN- OCHA INSARAG Secretariat, UNDSS, SDC, and all concerned organizations is also highly acknowledged.

The team is celebrating the 3rdAnniversary with another initiative of the National Accreditation Program to establish 36 Light Search and Rescue Team as per UN INSARAG standards.

Happy 3rdAnniversary to Pakistan Rescue Team and best wishes for the mission to save more lives with professional excellence.


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