IDF drill 370.
(photo credit: (IDF Spokesman))
The latest Home Front Command battalion to be formed is drilling intensely for
worst-case scenarios, including chemical missile attacks and conventional
projectile strikes, its commander told The Jerusalem Post on
Lt.-Col. Dror Shaul, who commands the Tavor Battalion – the
fourth Home Front Command battalion of its kind – said a chemical missile strike
exercise had been completed in Ashkelon in recent weeks.
The battalion is
preparing for a drill in the coming weeks that will see its members deal with a
conventional missile strike before being called suddenly to a chemical incident,
in an effort to simulate a war with extreme and unforeseen
While the risk of rockets and missiles carrying
conventional warheads being fired by terrorists remains a constant, the chances
of an unconventional attack are far lower, according to security
On ordinary days, when the battalion is not drilling for
extreme scenarios, it takes part in security missions in the West
“We’re fully set up and operational,” Shaul said. “Our mission is
to save lives in emergencies.
We practice rescuing trapped victims from
scenes of destruction caused by war or terrorism.
Our scenarios involve
homes struck by projectiles, like the Rishon Lezion apartment building hit
during Operation Pillar of Defense [in November 2012],” Shaul added, referring
to an incident involving a medium-range rocket causing considerable damage to a
“In this kind of situation, you need professionals
– not only firefighters – to search and rescue the area. These are the types of
incidents we are preparing for,” he added.
“We approach this kind of
incident using our abilities and tools – cutting and splitting up [building
materials]. These are the same tools used in construction, but here, they’re
used for rescue.”
The Tavor battalion, equipped with chemical protection
suits, must be prepared for chemical incidents as well. Its training involves
learning quickly to identify a chemical attack, the zone that is affected, and
charting a response. Tracking down antidotes to poisonous chemicals and
evacuating the local population can prevent additional harm, Shaul
The ultimate challenge, he added, is knowing to react immediately
despite the surprise.
“How do you make the transformation, from dealing
with a conventional attack to an unconventional one? Of quickly picking up the
equipment needed? Of swiftly mobilizing the battalion’s members from home? This
is a real challenge.
“We also need to know how to make the jump from
carrying out continuous security in the West Bank to an emergency situation in
the home front,” he said.