PESHAWAR -- Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) authorities are expanding the scope of Rescue 1122 operations after the emergency service proved successful in helping victims of terrorism and other incidents in Peshawar and Mardan, officials say.
“The services of Rescue 1122 were extended to Swat, Abbottabad and Dera Ismail Khan in August,” said Rescue 1122 Director General Asad Ali Khan.
“The service was launched in March 2010 in Peshawar when there used to be bomb blasts all over,” he told Pakistan Forward. “The absence of any specialised service cost lives that could have been saved.”
“Rescue 1122 is a gift to the people of Swat and other districts,” said KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak while inaugurating the service in Mingora August 13.
The chief minister highlighted the role Rescue 1122 played in responding to terrorist attacks on Army Public School in Peshawar in December 2014 and on Bacha Khan University in Charsadda last January, as well as to other incidents in Peshawar and Mardan.
“The KP government is reforming the system,” Khattak said. “This new service will help save the lives of people of the province and provide them relief in case of any emergency.”
Since its launch in March 2010, the Rescue 1122 force has responded to over 17,000 emergencies in Peshawar and 12,000 in Mardan, according to Khan, director general of the service.
Rescuers have rushed thousands of wounded survivors of suicide bombings, shellings, traffic accidents and other violent incidents to the hospital, he said.
“In Peshawar alone, rescuers responded promptly to 257 bomb blasts, over 4,000 traffic accidents and over 11,000 medical emergencies to save precious lives,” he said.
Rescue 1122 teams are stationed strategically so that they can respond to any call within seven minutes, he said.
“We are working to further reduce the response time so more lives can be saved,” Rescue 1122 spokesman Bilal Ahmad Faizi told Pakistan Forward.
“We have parked our well-equipped ambulances at various points with specialist medical teams to rush to the spot of any emergency,” he said.
Female technicians are deployed in some ambulances to help women, he said, adding that authorities are encouraging women to join the service to help the large number of women with medical and other emergencies.
The department has trained more than 30,000 rescuers, including some divers who are trained to respond to aquatic emergencies, he said.
In August alone, Rescue 1122 provided on-the-spot treatment to 280 people in Peshawar, he said.
In the next phase of expansion, which is coming soon, the KP government will launch Rescue 1122 in Chitral, Upper Dir, Mansehra, Kohat, Swabi, Bannu and Nowshera, he added.
“I called Rescue 1122 a few times after witnessing road mishaps and other emergencies, and its response time is amazing,” said Asghar Ali, a physician in Peshawar.
The paramedics saved many lives by starting treatment in the ambulance, he told Pakistan Forward.
Unfortunately, crank callers are impeding the rescuers' vital work, he said.
Rescue 1122 received 1,161 fake calls from Peshawar during the month of August, according to the Rescue 1122 spokesman.
“The general public should avoid crank calls to the rescuers as their time is so valuable,” Ali said.