IDF’s Home Front Command to train Chinese troops in emergency rescue

Home Front Command has trained with international partners for years, including Indiana’s National Guard.

September 13, 2018 22:46
2 minute read.
Israeli soldiers from the Home Front Command Unit gather as they take part in an urban warfare drill

Israeli soldiers from the Home Front Command Unit gather as they take part in an urban warfare drill inside a mock village at Tze'elim army base in Israel's Negev Desert June 11, 2017. Picture taken June 11, 2017. . (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)


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After six years of training with United States National Guard troops in Indiana, Israel’s Home Front Command may soon be on its way to China to train troops in emergency rescue scenarios.

“The plan is to put the Home Front Command in other places and not just the US,” Col. Dr. Olga Polyakov, chief surgeon of the Home Front Command told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

“We just got the invite to go to China, and we are now starting to plan for it,” she said, explaining that troops will most likely teach the Chinese how to deal with emergency scenarios like earthquakes.

The Home Front Command’s medical department is unique in that it has twin roles. It is responsible for providing medical treatment to all troops in the command, and as well is responsible for preparing all civilian medical centers in the country for emergency scenarios including war.

Israel has often aided countries struck by natural disasters, sending teams from the IDF Medical Corps and Home Front Command to provide search and rescue and medical aid in field hospitals in countries such Haiti, the Philippines, Japan, Turkey and Nepal.

Earthquake-prone China recently installed an Israeli-made earthquake prediction system which measures the ground 500 times per second, processing it in real-time and alerting control centers to warn civilians when an earthquake is detected. To minimize infrastructure damage, the system can order the closure of gas pipelines, power turbines and petrochemical plants, and halt rail traffic.

The six years of joint drills between the IDF and the Indiana National Guard have allowed troops to hone their skills and learn new ones which will be critical in times of disaster.

According to Polyakov, the July drill in Indiana was the first time the Command sent troops to train 21 American medics and paramedics in a course on emergency rescue medicine.

The week-long course included studying emergency trauma medicine - including mental health - as well as a simulation of a collapsed school, and a summary exercise which saw the participation of local first responders.

Calling the pilot course a success, Polyakov told the Post two other courses are planned to take place in the United States.

Indiana, Colorado and Massachusetts are the only US states where National Guard troops train in homeland defense cooperation with the IDF’s Home Front Command.

Their training focuses on civilian protection during emergency scenarios such as collapsed buildings.

Missouri will become the fourth US state to hold joint training exercises with IDF’s Home Front Command.

“Missouri stands with Israel. It was a Missouri president, Harry Truman, who first recognized the State of Israel,” said Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens in February. “Today I’m proud to announce that Missouri National Guard troops and Israeli Home Front Command troops will literally be standing and training side by side.”

Indiana’s National Guard specializes in joint urban search and rescue, and recently sent a 50-man delegation to Israel for a week-long joint training session. Indiana’s National Guard hosts troops from the IDF’s Home Front Command at Camp Atterbury and the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center.

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