soldiers. The organizations also conduct drills
with the Israel defense forces and Israeli police
forces on a regular basis.
The joint drills train military medics to
respond to civilian-style casualties. Civilian
medics receive training in the use of vehicles
and aircraft in evacuations and treating injuries
caused by military-grade weapons. Both civilian and military medics learn how the other
coordinates operations so that both can make
improvements to their systems.
After receiving training, EMS personnel
are able to effectively enter warm and hot
zones with their law enforcement and military colleagues. The coordination and cooperation among response agencies is invaluable,
and pays dividends in mass casualty incidents
(MCIs) and terrorist situations.
TREATING TERROR VICTIMS
The continuous threat of terrorist attacks on
civilians, and the pain caused by them, have
built a resiliency within the populace. However, these ever-present threats also demand
immediate EMS response to MCIs.
Volunteers often arrive on scene at a terror attack so quickly that they begin treating
victims while there’s still an active shooter.
Although training courses stress that the safety
of the responder comes first, there have been
many instances in which responders risk everything to save the lives of others.
Law enforcement agencies, aware of the
need to respond quickly, often provide a protective barrier around the EMS providers if
there’s a threat that hasn’t been neutralized.
An environment like this requires close cooperation between EMS, law enforcement and the
military. This has allowed for the development
and implementation of efficient techniques
that hasten operations under disaster-like conditions, ranging from a unique style of
triage to the creation of a psychotrauma unit
that treats victims at the scene of traumatic
incidents. These innovations have put Israel on
the cutting edge of EMS civilian care.
The psychotrauma unit’s aim is to stabilize the
patient at the location of the trauma, whether
it be a terror attack or a crib death, to help the
patient deal with the realities of their new
situation and prevent or manage the onset of
United Hatzalah’s psychotrauma unit is
comprised of volunteers, many of whom are
psychologists and social workers. Volunteers
must complete a specialized psychotrauma
enrichment course on how to best approach
and stabilize a patient in the immediate after-
math of a traumatic event.
The unit is divided into a two-tiered system
of care. The first tier consists of trained psycho-
logical professionals who provide a higher level
of treatment, akin to a psychological version
of ALS. At the second tier, EMTs who have
taken a basic course treat patients at traumatic
scenes, similar to BLS medical treatment.
Currently, the unit has a goal of training
an additional 150 volunteer responders to be
able to provide coverage on a national basis.
Police, fire and rescue services, as well as the
various EMS services in Israel, now look to
United Hatzalah’s psychotrauma unit to treat
patients and bystanders on scene that go into
HIGH-TECH EMS INNOVATION
Perhaps the most important high-tech EMS
innovation to be used in Israel to date is the
Nowforce smartphone application. The application is used by United Hatzalah to locate and
dispatch the responders in closest proximity,
and with the proper level of EMS training, to
a medical emergency.
The app has allowed United Hatzalah volunteer responders to cut their response time
down from approximately 7–10 minutes to
three minutes. That number also represents
the current national average for EMS response
During their joint drills, civilian medics receive training in the use of vehicles and aircraft in evacuations as well
as treating injuries caused by military-grade weapons.
Israel’s civilian first response organizations and ambulance services conduct drills with the Israel defense
forces and Israeli police forces on a regular basis.