RAWALPINDI: In an attempt to develop a community-based emergency response system, Rescue 1122 has launched a three-day training program for volunteer rescue scouts, on Tuesday.
The training will be carried out as a part of a building program known as Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), aimed at creating socially responsible and resilient communities.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Rescue 1122 Emergency Officer Deeba Shahnaz said the initiative not only focuses on training volunteers, but also on providing them with a platform to share their issues and input in matters of emergency response.
“Volunteers from each union council are encouraged to bring forth pictorial evidence of risky situations brewing in their respective areas. We then share these in meeting with our emergency board,” she said.
“In other words, it is a mechanism through which communities take responsibility for themselves and share feedback with us so we may highlight these shortcomings at a government level,” she added.
“Out of the thousands of registered volunteers, we have invited 200 participants to receive training in community-based disaster risk management and community action for disaster response (CADR)”, Shahnaz said.
In the first phase of the program, volunteers are registered at one of five rescue stations; Rawal Road, Pirwadhai, Bahria Town, Civil Lines and Kalma Town.
After a preliminary orientation in emergency services, basic life support and fire safety, volunteers receive CADR training by internationally certified trainers as the second phase of the program.
Under the CADR training, volunteers are sensitised on community hazards, water emergencies, ensuring household preparedness for response, incident command systems, managing dead bodies and dealing with fire emergencies.
Shahnaz said that although Rescue 1122 does offer an effective emergency response system, there is still a role for organised trained communities to play in ensuring their own safety.
Such initiatives aim at changing mindsets of communities under risk, she added.
This is the sixth batch of community volunteer rescue scouts trained by the emergency service under the CERT initiative.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 7th, 2015.
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