Photo Credit: Hatzalah
New recruits in Hatzalah NJ's first Cohort.

JERSEY CITY – On July 30, Jersey City Medical Center, a Barnabas Health facility, on Thursday, July 20 kicked off a new program to train the nation’s first group of United Rescue volunteers, connected by GPS technology and trained to provide lifesaving medical treatment before the arrival of an ambulance. A partnership between the hospital and the City of Jersey City, United Rescue follows the highly successful model designed by United Hatzalah of Israel, where average emergency response time is just three minutes.

First announced by Mayor Steven Fulop in January, United Rescue received more than 300 applicants for its inaugural training class, reflecting significant interest within the Jersey City community. The first 50 volunteers—all of whom either live, work or attend school in Jersey City—will receive lifesaving medical equipment upon the successful completion of a 60-hour course in medical first response. Once operational, 9-1-1 calls received in the Jersey City Medical Center call center will be routed through the NowForce dispatch system, which locates the closest United Rescue volunteers to a given emergency and notifies them via a GPS-based mobile app.

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Whether heart attacks, strokes or traffic accidents, the difference between life and death is often determined by how quickly an ambulance can reach the scene of an incident. Jersey City Medical Center’s EMS Department maintains some of the fastest response times in the nation with an average response time of less than six minutes. United Rescue’s model takes these response times a step further and recognizes that many victims could be saved if a nearby neighbor, coworker or fellow resident were equipped to help during that initial window of time.

According to Joseph Scott, President and CEO of Jersey City Medical Center, “Response time is integral in improving patient outcomes. The United Rescue program will help increase Jersey City Medical Center’s already world-renowned survival rates and ensure that the residents of Jersey City receive the most prompt, professional, and proficient prehospital care.”

Paul Sosman, United Rescue Program Supervisor at Jersey City Medical Center added, “This will be the first program of its kind in the United States. I am confident that the United Rescue program will enhance our EMS system further and save even more lives.”

Although the model has been successfully deployed in Argentina, Brazil, Panama and Lithuania, Jersey City will be the first to incorporate the concept in the United States. “We are excited to be the first city in the country to launch this innovative, lifesaving program,” Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said. “When every second matters, we want to deliver the fastest, best medical service to our residents.” The United Rescue, Jersey City program is funded exclusively through private charitable donations. United Rescue aims to expand the model around the United States.

“We are thrilled to be exporting our Israeli techniques to help the residents of Jersey City get better, faster emergency services,” United Hatzalah Founder and President Eli Beer, who will be on hand for the initial training, said. “We look forward to sharing in the success of United Rescue, Jersey City!”

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