Anniversary of the first UN-INSARAG certified rescue team in South Asia

Whenever anyone would like to write down the achievements of the emergency services commonly known as Rescue 1122, one would feel proud to mention the first Pakistani Rescue Team (PRT) certified by the United Nations INSARAG in South Asia.

Pakistan Rescue Team of Emergency Services Academy (Rescue 1122), Lahore received this great honor of United Nations certification after completing a multi-year in-depth assessment process under the supervision of UN-INSARAG mentors. The International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) is the official certification body of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) for international search and rescue teams. PRT has become an honor for Pakistan, the country’s professional capacity for training other countries in the country and Southeast Asia and international disaster response. Today, October 30, the Pakistani rescue team completed its two-year UN certification and celebrates its second anniversary.

The final evolution of the rescue team was carried out by a team of international United Nations classifiers from Austria, England, Germany, Switzerland, Morocco, Jordan and the United Nations Secretariat – INSARAG in Geneva. The classifier team included Peter Goxharaj, Christian Resch, Thomas Nesensohn, Amjad Al-Huniti, Soufian Samghouli, Winston Chang Wei Shen, Robert John Norman and Sean Moore came to Lahore from October 28-31, 2019, evaluated different phases of documentation review. at the end of the exercise in a 36 hour tabletop exercise. This assessment was like a final World Cup for the disaster response players, as a single safety breach can result in disqualification of the team. It was certainly a great moment when Winston Chang of the UN INSARAG Secretariat made the official announcement at Governor House and said that I like to start with the famous quote from Prime Minister Imran Khan, world cricket champion, a- he said and I quote “Never give no matter how hard, keep going and don’t give up.” Today, “The Pakistan Rescue Team stands among the world’s elite as teams of urban search and rescue officially classified by the United Nations. ”Being part of the global network in the field of disaster response is a milestone for the country and after this classification, Pakistan Rescue Team is certified by UN-INSARAG for conducting search and rescue operations around the world Congratulations to the Prime Minister and to the whole nation for international achievements.

This specialized search and rescue team is stationed at the Lahore Pakistan Emergency Services Academy, strategically located almost in the center of the country and can be deployed domestically or overseas in the event of a disaster. This academy has a specially designed rubble field for urban search and rescue training facilities with trained personnel and specialized equipment in accordance with INSARAG guidelines essential for international disaster deployment. Although this academy is located in Punjab, but acts as a national organization as more than 20,000 emergency professionals across Pakistan have been trained in this academy. In addition to this, the Academy has already organized the SAARC Rescue Challenge in 2018 for capacity building of emergency services of SAARC countries and ten National Rescue Challenge to improve coordination and uniform standard of emergency services. emergency in the country and five National Community Emergency Response Team Challenges to provide a platform for volunteer teams to showcase their professional skills and promote volunteerism.

The 36-hour final assessment process for the INSARAG External Classification (IEC) was a complete table-top exercise on the procedure from preparing the team to travel and deployment to another country and the conduct of operations from search and rescue in the affected country. All stages of disaster alert, team activation, pre-deployment process including team registration, medical screening, logistics issuance and briefing of the team. ‘team, mobilization and customs and immigration control of the team to reach the affected country, coordination meetings with local authorities, together establishment of a reception / departure center to facilitate all teams to assist the affected country, establishment of a base of operations (BoO) to start the operation, assessment / search over a large area and start of rescue operations, including concrete cutting, breach, horizontal approach rescue, crane operation, field amputation, confined space rope rescue, vertical shoring, team debriefing and demobilization were carried out in accordance with international guidelines.

The selected team member also acted as the Urban Search and Rescue Coordination Cell (UCC) as a member of the United Nations to centrally deploy the various assisting teams. During all these functions, various injections were given by the exercise control to verify the professionalism of the team and the understanding of the missions in accordance with INSARAG guidelines. All members were under observation.

The collective and tireless efforts of Team Commander Dr Rizwan Naseer, Team Leader Dr Farhan Khalid, Exercise Controllers, all Team Leaders and team members of the the whole world hoisted the flag of Pakistan after an international success. The Pakistan Rescue Team highly appreciates and appreciates selfless service. of Edward G Pearn, the England team’s first mentor and the efforts of all international experts from different countries to build the capacity of the team. The support of the government of Pakistan, Punjab, NDMA Pakistan, UN-OCHA PAKISTAN, UN-OCHA INSARAG secretariat, UNDSS, SDC and all concerned organizations is also highly recognized. The team is celebrating the second anniversary with another National Accreditation Program initiative to train the Light Search and Rescue Team in accordance with UN INSARAG standards.

– Deeba Shahnaz Akhter

Certified Member UN Pakistan

Rescue team

[email protected]

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