Earthquake drill held at Tel Aviv's Sheba Medical Center

The drill tested the Israeli hospital's preparedness for mass causality events.

By OMRI RON
September 26, 2019 19:46
2 minute read.
Sheba Medical Center took part in an earthquake simulating mass casulaties

Sheba Medical Center took part in an earthquake simulating mass casulaties. (photo credit: SHEBA MEDICAL CENTER)

An earthquake drill was held on Wednesday at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv, also known as Tel Hashomer Hospital, to test the hospital's ability to adapt to natural disasters and mass causality events. It was approved by the IDF Home Front Command and the  Health Ministry.
 
It was first time a field hospital was deployed to deal with all the various types of injuries the drill will test for. It included an ER, triage, surgical theater and a lab. This was made to simulate a scenario in which the regular hospital building would be damaged by the quake, and is designated to handle wounded individuals from nearby towns and cities.

The nine inflatable tents used in the field hospital can be set up quickly and are transportable. They can also be set up throughout the country in times of national emergency.

"This field hospital can be deployed quickly in case of major structural damage to Sheba Medical Center, ensuring continuity of medical services in times of crisis. We are the only hospital in Israel that is able to build such a facility with full capabilities in a short period of time in order to create a rapid response," according to Prof. Elhanan Bar-On MD, MPH, director of The Israel Center for Disaster Medicine and Humanitarian Response. "We are proud of our staff, which is able to cope with and operate under duress, whether it's in our backyard or overseas, when we are called upon to save lives in faraway places. This exemplifies the spirit of Sheba."

The government is funding some earthquake-preparation projects, and the Home Front Command has also trained more than 74,000 students as first responders in case of an earthquake to provide first aid until professional rescue service teams arrive.

A major earthquake could threaten Israel’s 271-km. coastline with a devastating tsunami. On average, a significant tsunami hits the Mediterranean Sea once a century, and Israel’s coastline suffers one on average every 250 years.

The last recorded tsunami in Israel was in 1956 following a large earthquake in Greek waters. Other tsunamis were recorded near Acre in the 19th century and Caesarea in the 12th century.

Nevertheless, the government began posting tsunami warning signs and evacuation routes along coastal areas in November 2017.

Israel is part of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Tsunami Early Warning and Mitigation System in the Northeastern Atlantic, the Mediterranean and connected seas, and is provided with essential data on seismic activity in the region. As part of the system, the country will have more than 20 minutes to evacuate its population the moment an earthquake happens in Crete or Greece.



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