SmartAID, United Hatzalah send aid teams to Florida after Hurricane Ian

United Hatzalah’s main task is to provide emotional stabilization and psychological first aid to those who have suffered due to Hurricane Ian.

United Hatzalah Mobile Intensive Care Unit team - illustration (photo credit: UNITED HATZALAH‏)
United Hatzalah Mobile Intensive Care Unit team - illustration
(photo credit: UNITED HATZALAH‏)

United Hatzalah and SmartAID announced that they are sending response teams to Florida to help with the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.

Through its mobile tech trailers, SmartAID will be providing first responders and local medical teams access to electricity, internet, and telecommunications. This will allow those on the ground to improve and expand their aid as well as give community members the ability to reach out to their families and social service providers. 

United Hatzalah’s main task is to provide emotional stabilization and psychological first aid to those who have suffered due to Hurricane Ian. They will also be providing humanitarian assistance and medical care as needed. 

From Puerto Rico to Florida

It has only been a little over a week since United Hatzalah sent a relief mission team to Puerto Rico to help with the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona, and now they have already sent another relief team to Florida to assist with the havoc caused by Hurricane Ian. 

A destroyed marina is seen after Hurricane Ian caused widespread destruction in Fort Myers Beach, Florida, US, September 29, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/MARCO BELLO)A destroyed marina is seen after Hurricane Ian caused widespread destruction in Fort Myers Beach, Florida, US, September 29, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/MARCO BELLO)

“This is our fastest turn-around time ever for separate missions. Our team from Puerto Rico just came back to Israel shortly before Shabbat and another team is heading out to Florida tonight,” said Vice President of Operations of United Hatzalah Dov Maisel as the team departed for Florida on Saturday night. “It makes me proud of all of our dedicated volunteers.”

The team mainly includes members of the Psycho-trauma and Crisis Response Unit (PCRU) along with a few EMTs. 

“We’re going because people are in need of help and we can’t sit idly by when this level of disaster strikes,” Maisel explained. “Over the past six years, the PCRU members have become experts in the field of providing psychological first aid and emotional stabilization in the field following any type of disaster, big or small. That is why we keep sending them out when these things take place. They were highly effective in Moldova, in previous disasters, and most recently in Puerto Rico.

"Their success really comes from not only providing treatment at the scene to those suffering and to the first responders who are tirelessly providing care but in giving these people tools that they can implement themselves in order to maintain their own levels of mental health and to help others do the same.

"They are a force multiplier of psychological first aid, and that has been proven time and again in large-scale disaster scenarios.”

Dov Maisel

The team will be led by the Director of International Emergency Management for United Hatzalah Gavy Friedson who also led the team in Puerto Rico. 

“When we saw the level of damage caused by Hurricane Ian and the fact that millions of people were forced to evacuate and suffered losses and damage, we knew we had to help,” said Friedson. “Following the success of our mission in Puerto Rico, the team members returned to Israel while plans were already underway to send a second team to assist in Florida. It is my honor to be the team leader for both of these relief missions.”