Pakistan Punjab Emergency Service (Rescue 1122) Director General Dr Rizwan Naseer on Sunday said that Rescue 1122 Fire Service had responded to more than 86,000 fire emergencies and saved losses worth over Rs186 billion since its establishment in 2007.
Talking to APP, he said the PES rescued 731,107 emergency victims while conducting 671,686 rescue operations last year besides responding to 14,033 fire emergencies; it saved losses worth over Rs 36 billion due to timely response and professional firefighting on modern lines in all districts of Punjab.
The DG said that 238,785 road accidents took place across the province in 2016 whereas 227,390 road accidents were reported in 2015 an increase of 2.44 percent. Similarly, 14,033 fire incidents were reported in Punjab in 2016 as compared to 11,565 cases reported in 2015.
The Rescue 1122 managed 327,843 medical emergencies last year as compared to 295,323 medical cases in 2015, showing an increase of 5.21 percent.
The Rescue 1122 responded to 21,182 crime related calls in 2016 as compared to 21,747 in 2015, with an increase of 565 cases. Total 154 explosions were reported in 2016 in Punjab as compared to 173 cases during 2015. Rescue 1122 also responded to 1,097 cases of drowning, 567 building collapses and 68,025 miscellaneous incidents, he maintained.
As many as 904 people were injured during fire emergencies all over Punjab, including 221 in Lahore, 130 in Rawalpindi and 125 in Faisalabad, whereas 72 people died in Punjab in fire emergency during 2016.
About 134 cases were reported of LPG cylinder blasts, 136 fireworks, 45 candle lights, 108 kitchen fires, 136 forest fires, 486 unknown and 1,973 other fires. A total 4468 fire emergencies took place in commercial areas and 4622 in residential and 4943 in other areas, adding that the most incidents occurred due to a violation or poor implementation of fire and life safety codes.
He said that it was needed to establish an effective Building Control Authority in order to implement building laws.
Dr Rizwan highlighted the core areas needed to be addressed by the building owners of high-rise buildings to ensure safe building construction, installation of proper emergency exits, fire alarms, availability of fire extinguishers, fire hydrants and sprinklers systems for high-rise buildings, industry and warehouses for the prevention of fire emergencies.
He said the owners of the industrial units and occupants of high-rise buildings should also realise the significance of proper exits, and requested them not to risk their lives and their business by evading safety measures for limited financial gains in comparison with the total investments.
The DG Rescue said that it is need of the hour to ensure implementation of safety standards as per building by-laws to prevent an increasing number of fire Incidents and protect the citizens, especially those living in high rise buildings.
He said that motorbike ambulance service would be established in 9 divisions of Punjab including Lahore, Sargodha, Rawalpindi, Multan, Bahawalpur, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Dera Ghazi Khan and Sahiwal in next four months to ensure prompt response to emergencies during rush hours.
This motorbike service would further enhance the operational capacity of the emergency services in Punjab to provide swift respond to any emergency in these major cities of Punjab, especially in congested areas and during traffic jams, he added.
Dr Rizwan Naseer said the Rescue 1122 had emerged as a successful model of emergency services delivery during the last 12 years, adding that Rescue 1122 would mark 2017 as a Year of Safety.
He said that Rescue 1122 was not just providing the emergency victims with the basic right to timely emergency care, but we also believe in saving lives and changing minds. Dr Rizwan Naseer said the PES was now working towards changing mindsets to establish socially responsible, healthy and more resilient communities to achieve the goal of the emergency services.
He added that capacity building programmes and various awareness campaigns launched by the service would create awareness and help the volunteers to adopt preventive measures and preparation for disasters in all the respective localities to promote a culture of safety.