Muscat: This year, the World Civil Defence Day is being celebrated under the theme, “Hand in hand against disasters.”
The theme was selected with an aim to remind people about the role played by the Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulance (PACDA) along with other members of the International Organisation for Civil Protection.
PACDA provides fire fighting services to save lives and property. Over the last few years, PACDA has been equipping its centres with advanced fire-fighting equipment to cope with the rapid developments witnessed in the Sultanate.
Alongside its fire fighting services, PACDA also offers land rescue services which are being shored up consistently. A number of vehicles and equipment have been launched recently. These have contributed to the land rescue operations, mainly in case of traffic accidents and rescue operations at multi-storey buildings.
Marine rescue is one of the core elements of the search and rescue systems or operations of PACDA. This branch has seen remarkable developments in terms of equipment, supplies and internal and external training aimed to further enhance performance.
The service is available at most civil defence and ambulance departments and has helped rescue citizens and residents, mainly during unusual weather conditions which the Sultanate witnesses from time to time, and also during marine rescue operations.
In 2012, the National Search and Rescue Team received a badge from the United Nations’ International Advisory Body for Search and Rescue Organisation. The team participated in a number of training activities, as well as search and rescue operations within and outside the Sultanate.
Oman’s National Search and Rescue Team also participated in the search, rescue and relief operations in Nepal following a devastating earthquake that hit the country.
Oman’s team was advised by the UN International Advisory Body to head to Nepal for such operations. PACDA K9 Search Team is a specialised team that commenced its operations in 2016. The mountain rescue team was formed in 2013 in response to the need to carry out rescue operations in mountainous areas.
A national team has been formed to professionally handle hazardous substances. Similar teams would be formed in various governorates of the Sultanate.
PACDA also provides ambulance services to people injured in road traffic accidents.
Services in the country are provided through 56 civil defence centres and 36 ambulance centres. New civil defence centres have been opened in the last three years in some governorates, such as Bahlam, Liwa, Duqm, and Jalanbanibu Ali.
The training system at PACDA is based on an analysis of the training needs in the various civil defence and ambulance fields. Internal and external training sessions are also organised for the personnel. PACDA has been able to contribute towards spreading awareness.
As far as media is concerned, new channels of communication with the public have been opened, including direct communication with the establishments and through coordination with the Ministry of Education in terms of various programmes as well as online communication.