Following Rescue Of Chen Danzinger, United Hatzalah and Nurofen For Children Open First Aid Courses Across Beit Shemesh

United Hatzalah has teamed up with Nurofen for Children and set a goal to train 500 parents and residents of Beit Shemesh in providing basic first aid to their families and neighbors in case of a medical emergency. The two organizations began a similar initiative in Sderot recently. 

 

The first aid course covers the basics of how to perform CPR, how to treat someone who is choking and how to deal with burns and other household injuries. The course is geared towards parents as well as teachers but is open to the entire community. 

Family Safety course in Beit Shemes

The initiative started in Beit Shemesh following an incident last month in which Chen Danzinger, a teacher in her ninth month of pregnancy, suddenly collapsed from cardiac arrest in the school in which she teaches. On Monday, Chen returned to the school which held a celebration in her honor. Beit Shemesh Mayor Aliza Bloch, as well as other high ranking officials in the city and the United Hatzalah volunteers who assisted in saving Chen’s life, took part in the event.    

 

President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer said: “The story of Chen’s resuscitation moved us all and showed us just how important it is for everyone to know CPR and first aid. When it comes to medical emergencies, every second counts. It is for this reason that we take upon ourselves the task of training thousands of people in basic first aid response. We know that this training results in lives being saved. By making sure that more people in Beit Shemesh know what to do if someone God forbid gets hurt or is suddenly ill, will safeguard the residents of the city and save lives, the same way that Chen was saved due to the early intervention of people who saw what happened and immediately took action.”

Family Safety course in Beit Shemesh

Beer added, “I wish to thank the Reckitt Benckiser corporation in Israel, the company in charge of Nurofen for Children, who has been assisting us for the past six years in providing family safety courses across Israel and training tens-of-thousands of citizens as part of the joint project that we have.”

 

Guy Yannai, CEO of Reckitt Benckiser in Israel said: “We recognize the Family Safety project as a flagship program whose goal it is to train thousands of citizens each year in providing life-saving first aid in cases of emergencies and drastically reducing the response time of receiving medical intervention before emergency services can arrive at the scene. We will continue to invest in the power of the community and this year we have chosen to invest strongly in the residents of the city of Sderot. We look forward to continuing our partnership with United Hatzalah for many years to come. Over the previous years of collaboration, we have been fortunate to work with an amazing volunteer organization made up of thousands of dedicated men and women each of whom has inspired us.” 

 

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United Hatzalah and Nurofen To Train 500 Residents of Sderot in First Aid

United Hatzalah has teamed up with Nurofen for Children and it has set a goal to train 500 parents and residents of Sderot in providing basic first aid to their families and neighbors in the case of a medical emergency. The initiative was created after the most recent round of rocket attacks swept across the city. 

A Family Safety class being taught to local residents

 

The training course, a total of four hours per class, will be given to residents of the city free of charge. It will incorporate comprehensive CPR training and how to provide treatment in cases of choking, burns, and other medical emergencies. In addition, this course, in particular, will also incorporate the basics of psychological first aid  (PFA) so that residents can provide initial treatment to those suffering from shock or emotional and psychological stress, something which is all too common in the southern town that borders the Gaza Strip.

President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer said: “Every year we provide hundreds of these training courses across Israel with the knowledge that this basic level of training results in lives being saved. In 2020, we decided to make a special effort to train as many people as possible in Sderot because of the recent waves of rocket fire that the city withstood over the course of the past year. The more residents of Sderot that know how to provide emergency first aid should a person near them suffer an injury or go into shock, the better off the entire city will be. When a person collapses or is injured, the first people who will be on the scene will be those who are in close proximity to the person and may even be at the location where the incident took place. It is in our interest, that these people, those who are closest, will know what to do even before emergency services can arrive at the scene. I want to thank Reckitt Benckiser Group, who produces and markets Nurofen, who has been partnering with us for the past six years to make these courses free of charge to the public and has helped us train tens of thousands of Israeli in how to provide basic first aid as part of our “Family Safety” program.”

Guy Yannai, CEO of Reckitt Benckiser in Israel said: “We recognize the Family Safety project as a flagship program whose goal it is to train thousands of citizens each year in providing life-saving first aid in cases of emergencies and drastically reducing the response time of receiving medical intervention before emergency services can arrive at the scene. We will continue to invest in the power of the community and this year we have chosen to invest strongly in the residents of the city of Sderot. We look forward to continuing our partnership with United Hatzalah for many years to come. Over the previous years of collaboration, we have been fortunate to work with an amazing volunteer organization made up of thousands of dedicated men and women each of whom has inspired us.” 

 

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The Tools And Knowledge To Make A Difference

On Sunday evening just before 6:00 p.m., United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Eli Koon had just gotten home from work when he received an alert from the organization’s dispatch and command center. The notification told him that there was a serious road accident near his location on Derech Ha’aravah Highway. 

Ambucycle at the scene of the accident

Without wasting any time Eli got on his ambucycle and immediately raced off towards the location of the accident that he received on his smart-phone communication device. The accident had occurred close to Israel’s border with Jordan, which is very close to Eli’s kibbutz (Kibbutz Eilot is Israel’s southernmost kibbutz), and with the help of his swift ambucycle, Eli arrived first at the scene.

 

When Eli arrived he found that a pick-up truck has smashed into a signpost and flipped over onto its roof. Inside the truck were three men who had been injured in the collision. Eli worked rapidly triaging the victims and providing initial treatment. 

All three of the men had suffered suspected spinal injuries and one had sustained a serious head wound. Eli worked with another EMT who arrived for several minutes in the remote location until additional forces and ambulances crews arrived to join the rescue effort. Within a few minutes, the three victims had been stabilized, immobilized, and prepped for transport to the hospital for further treatment.

 

The Kibbutz where I live is located one minute away from the location of the accident. I was there within a few minutes and this was a very serious accident. I felt a sense of gratitude that I was able to help the people injured. Had I not arrived when I did to provide treatment and stabilize their conditions, their situation may have been very different. It is gratifying to know that I was able to make a difference and I want to that United Hatzalah for giving me the tools and knowledge to do so.”  

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An Angel In Orange And A Midnight Car Accident

United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Asheri Angel lives in the quiet town of Nehalim, located next to Petach Tikvah. Ashri has been a volunteer EMT for quite some time and is married and a proud father. 

Asheri Angel at a car accident

One night a few weeks ago, just after midnight, Asheri was already in bed when his bluebird communication device buzzed, alerting him to a serious road accident at the nearby highway interchange between Route 40 and Route 1. The dedicated EMT jumped out of bed, threw on his shoes and a warm jacket and ran out of the house into the bitter cold night. He raced to the location and was one of the first responders to arrive at the scene. He immediately triaged the patients so that he could instruct the next volunteers who arrived whom to treat first.  

Two cars had collided at high speed. One driver lay sprawled on the ground, conscious but suffering from various injuries. Four women from the other vehicle had also been injured, one seriously. Asheri worked with the additional volunteers who also had begun to arrive and directed them to the more seriously injured patients to provide initial treatment and stabilize the victims. 

A volunteer paramedic arrived and took over scene management. Asheri then turned to treat the injured people. He affixed neck braces, immobilized the patients, and helped transfer them into responding ambulances for medical evacuation. 

Upon hearing that there had also been a baby in one of the cars, Asheri scanned the area looking for the missing infant. He found her in the car of a concerned passer-by, who had brought her into his vehicle to keep her out of the frigid cold. Asheri checked the baby for injuries and ensured that she was transported to the hospital for a thorough assessment.

“Waking up in the middle of the night to rush out and save someone’s life is not easy but it fills me with a sense of fulfillment,” said Asheri. 

Asheri returned home, grateful for his warm bed after being outside in the freezing air and gratified that he had been able to help these people in their time of serious need.

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A Not-So-Typical Day of Life-Saving In Bnei Brak

Menachem Shechter lives in the city of Bnei Brak in Israel, is a devoted husband and father of three. Menachem runs a shoe store in Bnei Brak and also volunteers as a United Hatzalah EMT and as a Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit (PCRU) first responder, providing psychological first aid at the scenes of traumatic incidents. Menachem has been responding to medical emergencies and saving lives for over 8 years, often responding to numerous emergencies per day.

Menachem Shecheter

On a recent Thursday, Menachem had a uniquely busy day and responded to multiple back-to-back emergencies. The first call came in around 1:00 pm; after a baby had lost consciousness near Menachem’s store. Menachem rushed over to the location performed CPR on the pulseless baby and then (as a seasoned PCRU responder) followed the ambulance to the hospital to provide emotional and psychological support to the distraught family.

After he made sure that the family was receiving the support they needed at the hospital, Menachem received another alert regarding a motor vehicle accident that had occurred nearby. Jumping on his ambucycle once again, Menachem rushed out to the road accident and arrived in under three minutes. Arriving first at the scene, Menachem found a motorcyclist who had skidded on the rain-slicked roads. The biker was thrown to the ground and the heavy rear wheel ran over his leg causing a severe injury. Menachem treated the man’s leg wound as he reassured the shocked victim. By the time an ambulance arrived 20 minutes later, the man’s leg had been expertly bandaged and the patient was stable.

At around 3:00 pm, a 16-year-old teen, distracted by the loud music from his headphones, meandered off the sidewalk onto the road and suffered a blow to his head from the mirror of a passing Jeep. The teen briefly lost consciousness as witnesses urgently called emergency dispatch. Menachem was nearby when the emergency occurred and rushed over. He arrived on the scene within 90 seconds thanks to his ambucycle and close proximity to the incident. Together with two other United Hatzalah volunteers who arrived shortly after him, Menachem treated the teen and once he regained consciousness gently explained to him that he had been in an accident. Menachem covered the teen with a thermal blanket to prevent hypothermia and affixed a neck brace due to the risk of spinal cord injury. Twelve minutes later, an ambulance arrived and transported the young man to the hospital for further treatment.

At around 5:15 pm, the ambucycle medic responded to a 60-year-old Spanish woman in respiratory distress. Despite the language barrier, Menachem gleaned that the woman had been diagnosed with pneumonia three days ago but had misunderstood the doctor and not actually taken her antibiotics. Menachem provided oxygen and took her vital signs as he waited for an ambulance.

Immediately thereafter, he was notified of another emergency and rushed over to the scene. The strong winds had uprooted a tree lining the sidewalk just as a 60-year-old pedestrian passed by. Fortunately, the trunk missed hitting the man but Menachem found the victim trapped and injured under a mass of heavy branches. Working together with additional medics and firefighters, he extricated the man, got him onto a backboard and rushed him into the ambulance for transport to the Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva.

“These are just a few examples from one day. There are many other stories from other emergencies that I have responded to,” Menachem said. “For me, it is a pleasure to break up the routine at work and rush out to emergencies to help people in the middle of the day. I enjoy it for two reasons. First, it allows me to help others when they need it the most. Second, there is a strong rush of adrenaline every time my bluebird communication device goes off and lets me know that there is another emergency. Rushing out to help others is in my blood and I am proud to be a part of an organization that is filled with volunteers who drop everything and rush out to help others. It is a brotherhood of life-saving and I am proud to be a part of it.”

 

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My Saturday of Saving The Elderly

One recent Saturday morning, Adir received an alert about a 90-year-old man who sustained head and back injuries when he fell in his bathroom. Racing to the given location on his ambucycle, Adir arrived at the victim’s apartment just three minutes after receiving the alert. Adir stabilized the patient in a secure position and then skillfully began to treat his wounds. During the 10 minutes that it took the local ambulance to arrive, the compassionate medic stayed by the injured man’s side, monitoring his vitals and speaking encouragingly to him.

Adir on his ambucycle

Later that morning, as Adir was riding his ambucycle to his parents’ home, he received an alert from United Hatzalah dispatchers about an 80-year-old woman with pulmonary edema who had collapsed in her home. Revving the motor, the seasoned driver cut through local alleyways, arriving at the patient’s apartment in just 90 seconds. Finding her semi-conscious, Adir initiated oxygen therapy and utilizing a bag valve mask channeled high-flow O2 into the frail woman’s lungs. Adir continued to supply high-flow oxygen while he monitored her vitals until the intensive care unit was on site.

Just minutes after leaving that call, Adir was alerted to a 70-year-old man who was suffering from hypoglycemia. Rushed into the apartment by the patient’s anxious family, Adir found the septuagenarian laying on his couch sweating profusely and semi-conscious. Adir checked his vitals and, finding his sugar levels unusually low, promptly supplied him with a prescribed dose of Glucogel. As the patient slowly began to regain consciousness, Adir helped to prep him for transport when the ambulance arrived.

In the evening Adir urgently sped on his ambucycle to the home of an elderly woman. The family called United Hatzalah’s dispatch for their relative who had been complaining of severe breathing problems. Arriving at the address within minutes, Adir assessed the woman’s situation and began suctioning her airway. The patient gasped for air and suddenly she began to convulse. Checking her vitals, he astutely determined that she had just suffered a cardiac arrest. With the help of family members, Adir lowered her to the floor and immediately began CPR intervention, working solo until a fellow responder was at his side. The duo worked in sync until the ambulance crew arrived and continued the emergency intervention before evacuating her to the nearest medical facility.

Adir spoke about responding to emergencies on the weekend, which for him is a personal mission. “For me, responding to emergencies on a weekend is an operation, just like it is when I put on a uniform and do my reserve service in the military. It is a duty that I have and I do it with great love and from a sense of purpose that burns in my blood. There are dozens of emergency calls and each one is a world unto itself. To each one, I have to respond quickly, arrive quickly, treat the person, save a life, and many times arrive just to simply calm the person or their family members and give them a sense of safety and security. In the cases of elderly people who live on their own, this feeling of being cared for is all the more important. They feel a heightened lack that someone is there to care for them, and this is only amplified when they are suffering a medical emergency and screaming for help. This is a mission that is undertaken from the heart. If it isn’t coming from the heart, then there is no purpose to even enter the home of the patient.”

Adir added that there are special emergencies where one can recognize the impact that they have. “There are times when I’ve walked into the same patient’s home a few times. Sometimes the patient remembers me from the previous emergency, extends a hand and gives you a look that says “I know that I will be okay because you are here”. At those times I feel a part of this person’s life. It is something that as a responder I have to deal with as I help them deal with their emergency. It isn’t easy, but it is rewarding.”

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Treating Each Person As Their Own World

United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Betzalel Sabag lives in Rehovot with his family. Betzalel works in an office in Ramat Gan near the Aluf Sadeh interchange. One recent Sunday morning, traffic across the center of the country was at a crawl. Betzalel said that “As I was heading to work, traffic felt as if the entire country was at a standstill.”

Betzalel’s ambucycle at the scene of the accident in Ramat Gan

At approximately 6:30 a.m., a minivan carrying eight construction workers crashed at high speed into a truck on Aluf Sadeh Road in Ramat Gan. Despite the early hour, Betzalel had already arrived at work and was just sitting down at his desk when dispatchers notified him of the accident. He immediately ran out of the office to his ambucycle, jumped aboard and raced to the given address. Sirens wailing, he was able to cut through traffic effortlessly on his ambucycle. The traffic had come to a complete stop in the wake of the accident. In spite of that, it took Betzalel just a few minutes to arrive.

The fire department’s special rescue unit was already on scene and had begun extricating the trapped workers from the decimated vehicle. Together with additional arriving EMS personnel, Betzalel assessed and treated the passengers’ wounds as they were released from the minivan. Most of the men had sustained bruising to their head and chests and Betzalel suspected that they may be suffering from internal injuries as well. The team of EMTs immobilized the victims to prevent the exacerbation of their injuries. With the arrival of the first ambulances 10 minutes later, the injured workers were loaded aboard the emergency vehicles for rapid transport to the nearby Sheba Medical Center.

Firefighters working to rescue people from the vehicle

Relatives of the injured passengers arrived at the scene of the accident overcome with worry and panic. Betzalel, who also serves as part of United Hatzalah’s Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit, is trained to provide psychological first aid in addition to his ability to provide regular medical first aid. The caring EMT reassured the concerned relatives that their family members were all in stable condition. He shared numerous simple yet effective techniques for mental and emotional stabilization with them to help them process the frightening incident.

“I must always keep the proper perspective. While I respond to medical emergencies frequently, for the people I treat and their family members, this was their whole life. Everything could have been different in an instant. Therefore, I cannot allow these situations to become routine. I have to treat each incident separately and help the people involved with what they need. Each person is their own unique world. I am thankful that I was able to provide treatment quickly both to the injured and to their worried family members and help them through this difficult and fearful process.”

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Bringing Light To Israel’s Elderly On Chanukah and All Year Round

Hundreds of emergency medical service volunteers from United Hatzalah visited with elderly or sick patients in hospitals and elderly people in their homes across the country. The volunteers made these visits in order to share a little bit of the light of Chanukah with those who are in need of an extra bit of joy. 

Ten Kavod volunteers visit patients at Yitzchak Shamir Medical Center

The volunteers are part of the organization’s Ten Kavod (giving honor) project and the Hospital Emergency Room Assistance Project, both of which are aimed at building more resilient communities in Israel. 

 

On Tuesday night, dozens of volunteers teamed up with representatives from the local Chabad House and visited patients in Assuta Hospital in Ashdod to celebrate the holiday by lighting candles, singing songs, handing out sufganiyot and playing dreidle with children. They brought patients together for a joint candle lighting celebration. Local Spokesperson and United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Avi Amar said: “In addition to celebrating the holiday with many of the older patients and helping them light Menorahs, our volunteers brought their children and instruments to play and dance together with the patients at the hospital. The idea was to create a festive atmosphere for the patients at the hospital and bring them joy.” 

Ten Kavod volunteers prepare to visit patients at Yitzchak Shamir Medical Center

On Wednesday evening, EMT students from the area of Rishon LeZion and Be’er Yaakov joined EMTs and paramedics from United Hatzalah at the Yitzchak Shamir Medical Center to light candles for patients in the hospital. Local Spokesperson Amir Bokovza said: “The volunteers and trainees went from department to department and passed out Chanukah blessings and gifts and lit candles with patients who could use some extra cheer.” 

Ten Kavod Volunteers visiting patients and lighting candles at Assuta Hospital in Ashdod

The hospital visits came in addition to hundreds of private visits carried out by Ten Kavod volunteers from the organization. “Our Ten Kavod Project volunteers were asked to take extra time away from their own families and go to light the candles with the elderly person they visit on a weekly basis,” said President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer. 

 

“Each volunteer, who already visits an elderly person in their community once a week to socialize with them and provide them with a free in-house medical checkup, was given a Menorah and candles as well as a special blessing and gift to give to the person they visit to help lift their spirits on the holiday. Many of these people live alone and don’t have anyone to visit them during the holidays, which can be particularly hard. It is incredibly important to show them that they are cared for and give them someone to spend at least one night of the holiday with,” Beer added. 

Ten Kavod volunteer visiting with an elderly man at his home on Chanukah in Efrat

Over 600 volunteers across the country took part in this initiative over the holiday.  

 

Beer concluded by saying why so many volunteers felt it imperative to undertake such a worthy endeavor: “At United Hatzalah we believe in more than providing emergency medical care, we believe in helping communities. This initiative, undertaken by our volunteers in the Ten Kavod project as well as in the Hospital Emergency Room Assistance Program are two jewels in the crown of how we fulfill this mission and I am proud of every single one of them.” 

 

Ten Kavod volunteer visiting with an elderly woman at her home on Chanukah in Kfar Saba

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Treating An Acute Stress Reaction That Resulted From a Medical Trauma — Psychological First Aid In Action

Irit Ravid is one of United Hatzalah’s Psychotrauma Crisis and Response Unit (PCRU) responders. She is ready to assist someone suffering emotional or psychological distress at any time of the day or night. A recent medical emergency occurred on her moshav, Nahala, in which her psychotrauma training made all the difference.

 

Irit RavidThe incident took place on a recent Friday afternoon.  A grandmother was walking down the steps out of the house when she tripped on a stone and fell, landing awkwardly and striking her head. She began to bleed profusely from significant facial wounds. The frightening fall was witnessed by her two grandsons, aged ten and thirteen. The two boys ran into the house, calling urgently for help. Their mother came rushing out, immediately calling for an ambulance.

 

Irit received the alert and (despite being some distance away) responded to the call. She arrived to find several other medics already on-site treating the injured woman. However, Irit’s trained eye immediately noticed the ten-year-old boy. He was shaking and crying, suffering in the throes of a severe panic attack. His agitated parents and family members, already overwhelmed by the grandmother’s condition, were unable to handle the boy’s acute stress reaction and were alternating between being impatient, irritated and nominally sympathetic.

 

Irit took off her orange vest so as not to intimidate the child as she firmly cleared everyone away from him and guided him to a quieter spot. Sitting beside him, she encouraged him to breathe deeply and guided him through breathing exercises until he could control his racing breathing. She listened to him empathetically as he described the frightening, bloody scene and commended him for his fast, mature response. “You went to call for help, and EMTs came to help your grandmother all because of you,” she told him. “Now she’s in good hands getting the treatment she needs.” Irit continued talking soothingly with the boy for a full half-hour as he slowly recovered. Finally, he was able to focus and talk about practical matters. A calm, level-headed and caring aunt arrived to look after the young boy and Irit left the home, satisfied that the child had support should he need it.

 

Irit paused outside to talk to the older brother for a few minutes, ensuring that he too was okay, before finally leaving the family.

 

Such an incident could have long-term effects on this impressionable child. Irit’s prompt intervention on-site ensured that he was able to process what had happened in a healthier way, preventing further emotional trauma and the possible onset of PTSD or other emotional disorders in the future. This is just one small example of how this life-changing unit is enabling its volunteers to reach out and be there for others when medical traumas occur. 

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Dramatic CPR on Train Saves A Life

United Hatzalah paramedic Liad Ohana was traveling by train from his home in Ofakim to Tel Aviv on Monday morning when he heard screams coming from the seat behind him. A man had collapsed and was unconscious. Liad immediately rushed over to the man checked his pulse and having found none, began compressions. 

Liad Ohana at a training drill (illustration)

 

“I was on my way to report for military reserve duty when I heard screams coming from right behind me. I rushed over to the man who had collapsed. He was in a state of agonal breathing. I began chest compressions while I instructed those around me to call for help. After a few minutes, the man’s pulse returned. Emergency medical teams from the train as well as an ambulance team rushed to the nearest station where they waited for the train to arrive.” 

 

One of the passengers pulled the emergency brake and the shift supervisor of Israel Railways identified the location of the train and sent the emergency shift manager at HaHagana station to board the train. He brought a defibrillator onboard but the man had already returned to consciousness. The machine was not used. As the man was in stable condition the train continued to Savidor station where an ambulance team awaited to take the patient to the hospital. 

 

Ohana added: “I have never seen a situation quite like this before. After a few rounds of compressions, the man regained his pulse and after a few minutes regained consciousness. By the time we arrived at the station, he was conscious.”

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