Rescue officials told to shape up or bow down

All employees will be tested for BMI to ensure it is below 30

Our Correspondent July 28, 2017

LAHORE: The more pear-shaped of Rescue 1122 officials have been told to either reduce their weight to body mass index 30 by August 1 or join a refresher course at the Punjab Services Academy.

Clearly, authorities are unhappy that many of its employees bear little similarity with the model rescue official often depicted on the silver screen.

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This is evident from the “Final Chance to Improve Fitness and Reduce Weight” letter issued by Rescue 1122 Human Resource Deputy Director Foaad Shahzad Mirza. “It has been repeatedly emphasised that the fitness of all staff, including officers/officials, is extremely vital to Rescue 1122 as it is a lifesaving emergency service.

“Overweight staff puts their own lives and those of victims at risk when responding to emergencies. Accordingly, all overweight staff has been repeatedly warned to improve their fitness, failing which disciplinary action will be taken.”

The letter further stated that all officers, who have failed to ensure fitness and still have a Body Mass Index of 30 or more, will be given a final chance to report for refresher training courses at Emergency Services Academy on August 1. However, if they fail to do so, appropriate disciplinary proceedings shall be initiated.

A rescue worker, requesting anonymity, said officials were merely jealous of “healthy individuals” like himself. “They do not like foodies or healthy and prosperous people.”

Imran Anjum, another rescue official, said he would work hard on his fitness and reduce weight. “Fitness and good health are basic requirements for a rescuer. This time Rescue 1122 has saved the rescuers,” he said.

They appreciated the step taken by the authority as it would provide an opportunity for rescue officials to maintain themselves and ensure they are more productive on the job.

Not the first time

A letter carrying similar instructions was also issued in November 2016 by Rescue 1122 deputy director operations. The document stated that physical fitness was crucial for professionals of a lifesaving service. It added efficiency during rescue operations could be ensured if the workers were in peak physical health.

Overweight rescue officers were directed to control their weight and conduct a physical fitness and BMI test on December 31 or report to the Emergency Services Academy on January 1, 2017.

There were at least 37 rescue officers and officials who had BMI of more than 30. Two of these officials were from the headquarters; one from the Public Relations Wing and another from the Repairing and Maintenance Wing. Other officials/officers were in districts.

The list included three serving officers in Bahawalpur, six in Faisalabad, two in Gujranwala, one in Jhang, two in Khanewal, nine in Lahore and one in Layyah, Mandi Bahauddin, Multan, Rajanpur, Sahiwal, TT Singh and Vehari. Two were appointed at Nankana Sahib and three at Rawalpindi.

Final touches: Rescue 1122 to start patient transfer service

Rescue 1122 spokesperson Jam Sajjad Hussain said physical fitness was a prerequisite for every uniformed force. He said the step was a part of the DG’s vision to maintain international standards within the force. He added Rizwan had issued standing orders not to post any officer or official with a BMI of more than 30 in the field. He added the deadline to meet the criteria was final.

Body mass index is a measurement derived to calculate fat after dividing weight and height. A person with a BMI of more than 30 is defined as obese.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2017.


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