Satellite images of suspect sites in Syria 370 (R).
(photo credit: Reuters / Handout)
The IDF Home Front Command is preparing all hospitals in Israel for a range of
security threats, including large-scale missile attacks and chemical attacks, a
senior military source told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.
preparations have been planned three years in advance, and bear no relation to
current events or recent threat assessments. Exercises include training hospital
staff to deal with conventional missile attacks, mass-casualty incidents and
“mega-mass casualty incidents,” – involving 1,000 or more injuries.
train a lot for chemical weapons,” a Home Front Command source said. “This is
our business, and only ours. There is no room for error.”
The drills form
the only basis for dealing with a chemical weapon attack, the source stressed,
“since we have no experience with this.”
The threat of a chemical attack
from neighboring Syria is very low, but the defense community’s contingency
planning includes steps to both prevent and cope with such a threat.
Home Front Command’s medical department – under the jurisdiction of the Health
Ministry – has been tasked with preparing hospitals for all
All 27 hospitals in Israel have undergone intensive
chemical weapons incidents drills – including surprise exercises.
hospitals undergo a total of 25 emergency drills per year.
drills, people simulating patients are rushed into hospitals with notes attached
to them explaining their particular scenario. On average, hospitals deal with
200 “patients” during the simulations – though on some occasions, the number has
been as high as 700.
The Home Front Command has also created underground
areas in major hospitals such as Ichilov in Tel Aviv and Rambam in Haifa, so
intensive care and pregnancy wards can be transferred there in the case of
During Operation Pillar of Defense, the Home Front
Command sent crews to four hospitals to create daycare centers for the children
of doctors and nurses, to allow them to focus on treating
According to Home Front Command evaluations, even in the event
of wide-scale rocket and missile attacks, a low casualty rate can be
The source noted that the 11,000 rockets fired from Gaza
between 2000 and November 2012 (before the Gaza conflict) resulted in 22
“That’s a casualty rate of one per 500 projectiles,” he
“The more than 4,000 projectiles fired by Hezbollah during the
Second Lebanon War of 2006 resulted in 44 casualties in Israel,” he added. “In
the 1991 Gulf War, [then-Iraqi leader] Saddam Hussein fired 40 Scud B missiles
at central Israel. There was one casualty, from a door blown off a safe room.
Some people are fear mongering. The numbers should be studied.”
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