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PHOTOS: United Hatzolah Participates In Massive Inter-Agency Mass Casualty Training Exercise

Jerusalem, Israel – This morning, at precisely 10:15 the first bombs went off. Screams pierced the air as subsequent explosions ripped through the crowd exiting Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem. Bloodied and battered bodies lay strewn about. The wail of sirens from police, fire and United Hatzalah units racing to the scene added to the sense of urgency. Police sappers searched for and defused additional explosive devices as they secured the area. Fire crews extinguished the flames. Colored smoke grenades added to the surreal scene of devastation. On cue, senior medical students from Hebrew University’s Hadassah Medical School ran into the mayhem. Additional United Hatzalah medics from around the country joined the fray. Thankfully this was only a training exercise.

Professor Avi Rivkind, Head of the General Surgery Department and the Trauma Unit of Hadassah University Hospital at Ein Kerem and United Hatzalah’s Medical Director, guided the medical students and United Hatzalah medics in the planning for the event, but left them to their own devices, skills and abilities in the field. Professor Rivkind prepared some challenging surprises for the responding medical personnel. These included the dispersal of “wounded” outside of the immediate incident area to encourage broad search for unidentified injured parties; a real concern in terror attacks. Soldiers from Home Front Command and additional students played the role of interfering passersby, the type who need to be dealt with in real events. To really ramp up the training Professor Rivkind intentionally delayed the arrival of the evacuation teams thereby forcing the medical teams to professionally and creatively treat the patients in the field and keep them alive until the arrival of the evacuation teams. This too is critical when a mass casualty event occurs in a remote area far from available rescue forces.

Professor Rivkind told the participants that while he hopes they never need to utilize the skills they learned and practiced he is confident that they have each grown and benefited from the experience. Paramedic Yuval Yermiahu who is the head of United Hatzalah’s Medical Staff had only praise for the responding medics. He commented “They responded to a challenging incident with professionalism, creativity and enthusiasm that we come to expect from United Hatzalah medics. Eli Beer, Chief Coordinator of United Hatzalah added that “Since United Hatzalah medics are consistently the first responders to arrive on scene it is critical that we ensure that their level of training and professionalism is of the highest international standards. Our interaction with the wonderful students and staff of Hebrew University under the able leadership of Professor Rivkind continuously helps us reach this goal.”

YWN PHOTO LINK: Click HERE for photos.

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