After the building collapse on early Thursday morning, Hatzalah South Florida has had a non-stop continuous 24 hour- a -day presence at the disaster site in Surfside, Florida. While rumors of a slowed rescue response have popped up on social media, Hatzalah South Florida Director Baruch Sandhaus wants the public and community to know that he has personally witnessed a non-stop multi-agency rescue effort since the disaster began, with enormous resources being brought in as the scene safely allows.
Sandhaus also shared that while witnessing the selfless rescue efforts of Florida Task Force Team 1 and Team 2 under very difficult conditions, Jewish community leaders and family members felt that the on scene presence of the world renowned IDF Search and Rescue Team (SAR) would provide an additional layer of expertise and manpower as well as offer much needed aid and comfort to the suffering families.
Given that mandate, Sandhaus together with Rabbi Shalom Lipskar, Rav of ‘The Shul’ of Bal Harbor made the request for the vaunted Israeli Search & Rescue team to travel to Surfside to assist in the rescue and recovery mission.
Special permissions were requested and arranged through Florida Governor Ron DeSantis & US Senator Rick Scott to allow the IDF SAR team access to the site and actively participate working alongside Florida Task Force 1 “local” and Florida Task Force 2, globally considered one of the best SAR teams in the United States.
Hatzalah of South Florida extends it’s deep appreciation to Governor DeSantis, Senator Scott and Miami Dade Mayor Danielle Levine Cava for greenlighting this request and for their commitment to the Jewish community.
Upon their arrival Sunday morning, the IDF team were met by South Florida Hatzalah leaders, introduced to Governor DeSantis, the Mayor, and to the various scene Supervisors and Agency leaders and immediately got to the task at hand with full unencumbered access to the pile.
South Florida Hatzalah, at the request of Miami Dade Fire Rescue, has been tasked with remaining at the scene of the collapse to provide medical care for firefighters as well as family members being brought to the site. This operation will continue for the foreseeable future and Hatzalah will remain here for the community as needed.
Additionally, since early Thursday morning, Hatzalah South Florida has been running point at the family reunification center, initially at the Surfside Recreational Center now moved to the Grand Beach Hotel.
Further updates will be forthcoming as information becomes available.
— Chaskel Bennett (@ChaskelBennett) June 27, 2021
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