IDF armored brigade practices large-scale airlift of wounded soldiers in Golan

Drill held on Wednesday required more than 10 of IAF’s Yasur transport helicopters.

September 17, 2015 02:47
1 minute read.
idf golan

Members of the 188th Armored Division practice evacuating a wounded soldier during a drill on the Golan Heights . (photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)


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The IDF’s 188 Armored Brigade held a large-scale exercise on the Golan Heights on Wednesday, simulating the airlift of a large group of wounded soldiers to hospital.

Capt. Dean Nahman, medical officer for the 188 Brigade, said the drill was aimed at ensuring the fastest possible airlift of soldiers, in Yasur transport helicopters, following a mass-casualty incident that could occur during routine times or in a state of conflict.

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“Airlifts are the fastest ways to get soldiers to hospital. This is not like a [civilian] Magen David Adom paramedic evacuation,” Nahman said. “We need to tell the helicopters where to land, and to place units around, to secure them against enemies armed with threats, like antitank missiles. We have to coordinate with the air force and artillery units. The whole of the brigade took part,” he added.

Each helicopter can airlift up to eight seriously wounded soldiers.

Nahman said the Medical Corps is seeking to improve on-board emergency care, through the introduction of cutting edge technology.

This will enable the on-board doctor-surgeon and medical team to monitor the patient’s vital signs like blood oxygen levels, and transmit the data in real time to the waiting hospital.

“We are working on the ability to send the information, and receive advice from doctors on the ground during treatment in the air. Also, we are working on the ability to place soldiers on a ventilator in the helicopter, and send and receive video to doctors.

This technology is at the entrance phase, it is the direction in which we are going.”

More than 10 helicopters took part in Wednesday’s drill, Nahman said, adding that the exercise was unusually large.

In Operation Protective Edge in 2014, the division’s Medical Corps officers took part in the air rescue of 25 wounded soldiers following a mortar attack on Kissufim, “We took a very large number of wounded soldiers and ensured they reached hospital within an hour. We are drilling what we did a year ago in reality.”

On the ground, every combat soldier today carries a first aid kit complete with blood stoppers, and brigade doctors carry more advanced treatment kits.

“Exercises like this are usually part of a larger drill. What’s unique here is that the entire focus is on the evacuation,” Nahman said.

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