The first provincial community emergency response training exercise for 36 Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) from all the districts of Punjub, was conducted late last year. The Community Safety and Information Wing of Punjab Emergency Service organized this competitive initiative. It registered 100,000 participants but trained 30,000 Rescue Mohafiz (Volunteers) who showed up at the Emergency Services Academy Lahore. The University of Lahore (UoL) Search and Rescue Club participated as one of the CERTs and won several trophies.
The establishment and training of CERTs across the Districts of Punjab is legally supported by the Punjab Emergency Service Act-2006 with an aim of developing disaster resilient communities in Pakistan.
The training was organized in a competitive mode in order to enhance the professional emergency response capacity of CERTs as the first community responder at the local level. The competition amongst the teams provided a platform for volunteers to exhibit skills in an exceptional way. The 3-day event was formally inaugurated by the Director General, Rescue 1122, Dr Rizwan Naseer.
Each CERT was given two hours to exhibit in terms of preparation, activation, and mobilization of team members; hazard identification; incident command management; mass causality incident management; light search and rescue; response to fire and water emergency; and dead body management. All CERTs were evaluated and awarded certificates of participation.