The first batch of Disaster Rescue Force (DRF) held its passing-out parade at the police complex on seed farm at Ladhowal near Mannewal village on Monday.
With the passing out of the first batch comprising 40 personnel, the state authorities would be able to launch rescue operations after natural and man-made disasters without waiting for help from National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) men.
NDRF officials stationed at Bathinda imparted six-week training to the first batch of DRF.
The DRF would be made up of personnel of different ranks of Punjab Armed Police, which took the initiative to form the force, and stationed at PAP complex in Jalandhar.
PAP IG Dr Naresh Arora was presented the guard of honour by the passing contingent. The first batch of 40 personnel showcased a mock drill on rescue operation in post-earthquake situation. The personnel exhibited equipment and techniques they would deploy in actual operations in future.
IG Arora pointed out that there were eight battalions of NDRF in the country, which were not sufficient. During a disaster, much time was wasted in waiting of NDRF personnel to respond to the emergency situation. Hence, the states were directed to constitute their own rescue forces.
The state plans to train around 600 personnel for coping with disasters and conduct rescue operations.
"In April this year, when a blanket factory building collapsed in Jalandhar, we faced problems in conducting rescue work and waited for the NDRF to launch the operation. But now, we have our own DRF and will thus be able to conduct such rescue operations within no time. The force is capable of working in any condition," said the IG.
Arora also honoured members of the rescue force and presented certificate to those who excelled during training.
DIG Arun Pal Singh, 3rd Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) commandant Harjinder Singh, Commandant Jaideep Singh Yadav of NDRF, superintendents of police Pawan Kumar Uppal, Tejinder Singh Aulakh, Sajjan Singh Cheema, Kehar Singh and DSPs Sham Singh, Dharamvir Singh and Jaswant Singh were also present on the occasion.
Criteria for DRF job
IG Dr Naresh Arora said the police department had fixed criteria regarding age, health and education for choosing members of the DRF.
Police personnel desirous of DRF stint should be aged below 35 and possess good health. He must be educated enough to learn the names and usage of equipment used for rescue operations. The personnel should be sharp and able to take quick decisions as per the situation.
"We have police personnel in the age groups from 21 to 58, but we are giving those under 35 years of age a chance since they are more energetic and physically fit," said the IG.
"The DRF personnel would continue to perform their original duties, but would switch over to rescue work in case of disaster," he added.
PAP had earlier formed Anti-Riot Force (ARF) to cop with law and order situations. The ARF too has been stationed at the PAP complex in Jalandhar.
According to Commandant Jaideep Singh Yadav, the rescue force has been trained in proper use of equipment to save themselves from injuries during rescue operations.
"Conducting rescue operation is more than teamwork. Being members of a disciplined force, Punjab police men are good at it. They will be able to handle any situation," said Yadav.