Over 20 terror attacks have struck Israel in the last two weeks, killing 7 and injuring hundreds. There is not a single Israeli unaffected by this recent surge in incidents around the country. And when terror strikes, emergency responders, already on alert, drop everything to rush to the scene and protect civilians.
Standing by, United Hatzalah’s network of nearly 3,000 trained volunteers stationed in communities across Israel is called upon to arrive on scene within three minutes. With a customized GPS-enabled dispatch system, these volunteers have one goal: to treat victims as quickly as possible.
“One thing that has become clear over the last couple of weeks is that terror can really happen anywhere and at any time, countrywide,” said Eli Beer, president and founder of United Hatzalah. “This is a Hatzalah territory, because we can send out our medics on ambucycle to get there on scene, 2 minutes after the first reports come in and really improve the chances of survival for victims of a shooting or stabbing. Ambulances often don’t arrive for 30 minutes, because of traffic, and that just isn’t good enough when people are bleeding out.”
Beer added that oftentimes United Hatzalah volunteers arrive on scene so fast that the terrorist is still armed. Volunteers are trained to be suspicious and prepared for secondary attacks, whether it be explosions, multiple terrorists or other dangerous conditions.
“As United Hatzalah volunteers, we literally run into danger to save lives,” explained Daniel Katzenstein, a United Hatzalah medic who has been present at many terror attacks in Jerusalem this week. “When everyone else is trying to get away fast, we are trying to get to the scene quickly, sometimes when the shooter is still there and armed. We are taught how to calculate risk yet do what is best to stabilize victims until the ambulance arrives.”
Katzenstein and fellow Jerusalem-based volunteers also helped stabilize the victims at Monday night’s bus shooting by the Central Bus Station and the four attacks on Monday. In addition, United Hatzalah medics treated victims in the moments following the attacks at a Petach Tikvah mall, in the Raanana commercial center and along Afula’s main road. On the Oct. 3 stabbing in the Old City, which killed two, Hatzalah medic Yishayahu Bloy whisked away a 2-year-old baby who only sustained minor injuries. The baby’s father was killed on the scene and his mother is being treated in the hospital with 11 stab wounds. “In situations like these, quick response both prevents more causalities and improves odds for those injured,” said Katzenstein.
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