Anti-government protesters advance through burning barricades in Kiev's Independence Square February 20, 2014.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The United Hatzalah and ZAKA rescue organizations are training Jews in Kiev’s Hatzalah so they can respond to mass casualty emergencies in the troubled and violent Ukraine if the crisis escalates.
In cooperation with the Isralife Foundation, the two organizations -- which recently merged -- are training local Jews in emergency, rescue and search techniques.
Ukrainian chief rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman and Ukrainian United Hatzalah rabbi Hillel Cohen made the request jointly to United Hatzalah president Eli Beer and ZAKA chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav. The two Jerusalemites mobilized their organizations to work together to train the local team in only a matter of days.
The Ukrainian Jewish participants have been taught first aid in mass casualty emergency situations, including protocols for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and treating suffocation, injuries and diseases. The participants have also studied the Hesed Shel Emet protocol issued by ZAKA to be used in the event of fatalities. Finally, they participated in a massive drill simulating their operational capabilities to treat a large number of victims. The training was administered by Dov Maisel, head of international operations at the Isralife Foundation, and Mati Goldstein, head of ZAKA’s Magen division.
“We were pleased to come to the assistance of the Ukrainian community during their time of need and provide the emergency training their volunteers need to handle local emergencies in an efficient and timely manner,” said Beer. “Both ZAKA and United Hatzalah each offered unique services and perspectives on emergency response and we were happy we could work together to help our fellow Jews.”
“We are grateful to both organizations for responding so quickly and generously to help our community in this time of need,” said Rabbis Azman and Cohen in a joint statement. The events surrounding us require our community to be prepared with the latest training and techniques so we can respond to emergencies and help our people quickly in these dangerous times,”United
With a fleet of over 250 ambucycles, the non-profit United Hatzalah’s 2,300 volunteers respond to nearby emergencies from mobile alerts and are able to arrive first on site to administer urgent care within minutes from the initial call of distress – bridging the gap between emergency and ambulance arrival.
Founded in 1989 in Israel, ZAKA was originally formed to respond to terror attacks and deal with the retrieval, identification and burial of the deceased. It now has over 2,800 volunteers based in over 15 countries,