United Hatzalah of Israel on Monday inaugurated its air medical unit (medevac) comprised of three helicopters and 30 flight paramedics. The unit will become fully operational on March 12 this year.
The unit will provide immediate air medical assistance in the north, center, and south of Israel. The helicopters, which are operated by former Israeli air force helicopter pilots, will be staffed by some 30 United Hatzalah paramedics, all of whom received extensive training with the airborne vehicles and evacuation techniques.
The helicopters are specially equipped to provide emergency transport by air for patients in critical condition and are outfitted with special equipment from the Swiss company Bucher Industries. The flight paramedics will be outfitted with specialized bodycams that will transmit live footage to United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center, allowing for collaboration with hospitals and physicians who will be able to provide special instructions during the treatment and evacuation of patients.
The unit, with state-of-the-art medical equipment, will be operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week, year-round, providing the highest level of medical care available.
President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer, who spoke during the unit’s drill, said: “I was proud to be here today together with the leadership of United Hatzalah, including CEO Eli Pollack, and Vice Presidents Michael Brown and Dov Maisel. This is a momentous day in the field of emergency medicine for Israel and for the 6,500 volunteers of the organization which provides medical care during emergencies in Israel and around the globe.
“These helicopters join our fleet of medical response vehicles which include boats that provide coverage on the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret), ATVs for rescues that take place in mountainous areas, beaches, and areas with difficult terrain, and other specialized vehicles with which we equip our search and rescue units. With just one phone call from the scene of a critical emergency, the helicopters of our air medical unit will be dispatched to the location of the emergency with a professional and highly skilled staff on board that will save more lives.”
Director of United Hatzalah’s Air Medical Unit Dana Nagler added: “The very moment in which an emergency call is received requiring the specialized care and transport of the air medical unit, United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center will send the nearest helicopter, which will arrive at the scene in mere minutes. After providing initial medical care in the field and making all the necessary preparations for medevac transport, the patient will be taken by the flight paramedics into United Hatzalah’s helicopter and transported to the most appropriate hospital or medical center to receive the highest level of care possible. The hospital will be updated about the inbound patient, and their condition, and receive as much information as possible before the patient’s arrival.”