The International Emergency Team
Introduction to IET
The International Emergency Team (IET) is a voluntary organisation born following the efforts of Mehrban Sadiq, from the Tyne & Wear Fire and Rescue Service, to increase the standards of fire safety overseas.
The IET is primarily focused in the Punjab region, which is split between Northern India and Pakistan.
There are over forty volunteer members within the core group of the IET, having a range of skill sets that help effect change in the area, ranging from paramedic training to educating future architects.
Despite being the National Chair for the Asian Fire Service Association (AFSA) during 2014 – 2016, Mehrban has always felt from a young age that his calling was for the emergency services.
Mehrban’s current role within the Tyne & Wear Fire and Rescue Service’s Community Safety Department enhanced the skills he required in; planning and organising events, delivering fire safety presentations, and working with diverse communities.
Mehrban’s Pakistani background is what makes IET so prosperous – being familiar with the language and culture, and the main challenges within the region, Mehrban can not only offer aid but also ensure that procedures are put into effect and a real difference is being made.
Mehrban visited the Punjab Emergency Service’s headquarters in 2013, undertaking humanitarian work in conjunction with Punjab Rescue 1122, and it was then decided that a scoping expedition would be undertaken the following year.
In April 2014 a small team consisting of five members, was welcomed by Dr Rizwan Naseer, the Director General of Punjab Rescue 1122, and were invited to assist in; assessing current capabilities, develop existing practices, policy, and procedure, and to initiate the foundation for future liaison and potential training facilities.
Punjab Rescue 1122 is the largest emergency humanitarian service in Pakistan with an infrastructure that encompasses all of the thirty-six districts of the Punjab. It was initially formed as a medical response agency and has since developed a fire and rescue capability in response to the major risks inherent to the region.
A visit to the site of the new Training Academy was organised and detailed discussion took place concerning the new training tower provision and fire-ground facilities.
Another reason pertaining to the success of IET is the well-established link from the organisation to the government-level – whilst the team also visited Islamabad, they met with the District Emergency Officer and the Prime Minister of Kashmir as well as the Governor of Punjab. The visits allowed for an introduction to the team and the scoping study, and future assistance the IET may be able to provide as part of continuing training and development project.
Following the scoping study in April 2014, a second visit to the region was made in January 2015 to assess the progress in the area in the following ways:
• The progress of the construction of the new Training Academy
• The progress and implementation of the Draft National Fire and Life Safety Code of Pakistan
• The design and final construction detail of the fire training tower
• The progress of the training syllabus
The continuous evaluation of the aid in which IET provides is another key reason for their success.
Areas of Change
Training was provided covering both firefighting and prevention, and fire safety, to cope with the extreme weather conditions – which range from seasons of monsoon to severe heat. The geographical hazards created as a result include landslides and earthquakes, and thus search and rescue expertise was also administered.
Paramedic training was also relayed, which included first aid and first responders training.
With a key focus on fire prevention, education becomes highly significant. Consequently IET has played an active role in the education within primary schools, delivering fire safety key messages, as well as advising future architects within University of Engineering and Technology Lahore regarding the construction of safe buildings.
The IET played a role in the paramedic motorbike launched in Punjab this year. Fundraising from England and Scotland allowed 10 paramedic motorbikes to be donated. The motorbikes were manufactured in Punjab to facilitate and accommodate their own unique needs. The project was highly successful, and the Punjab government ordered 900 extra paramedic bikes which created 3,000 jobs!
Local expertise is used in a manner in which the use of resources is optimised. When overhauling the current fire appliances, rather than having to purchase new appliances existing appliances were modified within the Punjab factories, which enabled the water pumping system to be reformed.
Aspirations for the future
There are high hopes for IET in the future, including branching out of Punjab to neighbouring countries such as; India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal.
Currently the IET works alongside various charities in order to raise funding to support their activities, however there is still a long way to go.
Please contact Mehrban Sadiq directly for donation and volunteering information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Special Thanks To Active Members:
• Muhammad Ahsan
• Mohammed Ali
• Rubina Bhatti
• Rehana Iqbal
• Baiju Panchmatia
• Neil Pickersgill
• Mohammed Rayaz
• Mohamed Iqbal Saddal
• Keith Trotter
Special Thanks For Donations
• West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service – donating over 2,000 ex-uniforms
• West Midlands Ambulance Service – donating medical equipment and spinal boards
• North East Ambulance Service – donating medical equipment
• Scotland Fire and Ambulance Service – assistance with the motorbike project
• First-Aid, Asian Business Connexions, On Time Ltd, Heaton Mosque, and Newcastle Sikh Gurdwara – kind donations and support.