On Tuesday, United Hatzalah of Israel held a mass casualty incident (MCI) training exercise for its women’s unit.
In response to the numerous MCIs in Israel over the past year, the specialized training drill was organized as a unique opportunity for women to practice providing necessary responses to particularly delicate medical emergencies that are specific to women.
Currently, the Women’s Unit consists of some 150 Jewish and Muslim volunteers, who serve their religious communities throughout Israel where an extra level of sensitivity is requested.
The simulated drill scenario, which was planned in July, was coincidentally similar to a bus accident that took place near Hurfeish just two weeks ago.
The training session simulated a bus of high-school-aged girls falling off of a highway bridge and involved more than 100 simulated patients and more than 60 first responders from the unit, all of whom are trained emergency medical service (EMS) personnel ranging from EMTs to paramedics.
A number of Knesset members and community leaders observed the scenario, including May Golan (Likud), Michal Woldiger (Religious Zionism), and Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Fleur Hassan-Nahoum.
Golan spoke about how excited she was to witness the training exercise.
“I’m excited to be here to witness the women’s training drill that United Hatzalah held today. I am proud to see Israeli women from all over the country uniting to save lives. It is empowering, it is beautiful, and it is the actual essence of what Israel is all about," she said.
"I want to congratulate these women for everything they do and support United Hatzalah to keep growing and supporting Israel so that it will be a better society and a better country for the health of everyone.”
The training drill was the fourth MCI drill that United Hatzalah has held this year.
Eli Beer, president and founder of United Hatzalah, noted the importance of these exercises.
“I have no doubt that the emphasis which United Hatzalah places upon constantly training our volunteers, especially MCI training, has resulted in lives being saved in the tragic instances that occurred in Meron, Givat Ze’ev, and Hurfeish," he said.
"This is why we continue to conduct these training exercises. We want to give each and every one of our volunteers the opportunity to participate in these drills and experience the chaos that can occur during an MCI so that they can learn how to make order out of it on every operational level," Beer said. "During an MCI, the speed at which responders can make decisions – the correct decision – can save many lives. This is true for each individual responder as well as for the larger operational decisions made during the incident.
"We need to be ready because as history has shown us, sadly, the next MCI is not a question of if, but when.”