The Punjab Emergency Service (PES) Rescue 1122 commemorated the National Disaster Awareness Day to remember the earthquake disaster of 2005.

In a message to rescuers of all 36 districts of Punjab and other provinces, Director General PES Dr Rizwan Naseer on Wednesday said that learning lessons from the past tragedies the establishment of land use & building control authority was need of the hour to ensure safe construction and development of safer cities to avoid such potential disasters in future. He also expressed his sorrow and grief over sad demises of those, who lost their lives in catastrophic earthquake of 2005, adding, “Such incidents also provide us opportunity of capacity building; therefore, we should focus on developing our system to prevent future disasters.”

In this regard after establishing an integrated emergency service infrastructure essential for saving lives and providing the citizens with the right to timely disaster response and care without discrimination, Rescue 1122 is now working for changing minds of the public to establish socially responsible, healthy, safer and more resilient communities. In this regard, Rescue 1122 is establishing community emergency response teams at every union council level in all districts. After enrolment, these volunteers are trained for community action for disaster response (CADRE) and community based disaster risk reduction (CBDRR). Thus, Rescue 1122 is working closely with the communities to enhance disaster response capacity, risk reduction and prevention of emergencies for the establishment of safer communities in all Districts of Punjab.

Furthermore, the PES also undertakes evidence-based research on the number and nature of emergencies to recommend measures for prevention of emergencies. This information is then presented before the district emergency boards on monthly basis by the district emergency officers who are also the secretary of these boards. The district coordination officer is its chairman, while all concerned district officers are its members.

Therefore, these boards have become very effective forum for reviewing emergency preparedness of all departments and prevention of emergencies/ mitigation of hazards endangering public safety. At the provincial level Rescue 1122 is also working with policymakers and all stakeholders for prevention of increasing number of fire emergencies and road traffic accidents through advocacy for better planning, interventions and effective enforcement of safety laws.