Yair Nachum is a United Hatzalah volunteer EMT in Tveria and runs a free lending society (gemach) that provides tables and chairs to people’s family celebrations. In addition, he is involved in providing food for the needy in his neighborhood, including ready-to-go cooked meals.
Over the last weekend, two minor earthquakes shook the area of Northern Israel including Tveria. On Sunday, Yair received dozens of phone calls from friends, family members, and neighbors in Tveria whom he’s treated in the past, all seeking the advice of the experienced EMT on how to conduct themselves in this potentially dangerous time.
“The people who called me weren’t sure whether it was safe to go anywhere, or if it was even safe to stay inside,” Yair explained, “especially those who live in older buildings that haven’t been properly upgraded to withstand major earthquakes.”
Yair, himself, experienced the first earthquake lying down on his living room sofa.
On Sunday evening, when Yair was participating in his regular weekly lesson in the study hall, he received a notification alerting him to a medical emergency nearby. A 57-year-old woman had suffered cardiac arrest in her home on HaRakefet street and collapsed unconscious on her floor. Her husband alerted emergency services.
Yair left the class and raced over to the nearby HaRakefet Street, arriving in under 90 seconds. The woman’s husband was trying his best to perform chest compressions but didn’t know how to execute them effectively. Yair took over and after a quick vitals check, he resumed the compressions.
After a few minutes of performing CPR alone, the mobile intensive care ambulance arrived and the team rushed in to join the effort to save the woman’s life. Yair succeeded in finding a vein in the patient’s hand and opened an intravenous line through which the paramedic administered fluids and medications. After an additional half-hour of resuscitation, the patient’s pulse returned and she was stabilized enough to be transported. Yair assisted the ambulance team in carrying the woman into the ambulance and she was rushed to the hospital.
“I wish the woman a full and speedy recovery,” said Yair after the incident. “It is my pleasure and honor to be an EMT and have the ability to help others. I appreciate every opportunity to give back to others. Everyone who reached out to me over the course of the day with all the questions they had, gave me an opportunity to help someone. I hope everyone is doing well and in good spirits after the earthquakes, and that we don’t have any more of them.”
United Hatzalah Founder and President Eli Beer heard about the story and said: “Yair is a gem of a person. He grew up with generous and giving parents who taught their children the importance of good values. He and his siblings each took it upon themselves to create their special way of giving to others and bringing honor to their parents’ names. I am proud of him and the work he does, just as I am proud of each and every one of our volunteers who is a pillar of kindness in their communities.”