Precautions For a Safe Lag Ba’Omer

Lag Ba’omer is a holiday during which many people have a tradition to light bonfires. It is with this in mind that United Hatzalah has issued the following precautions to help people avoid injuries big or small, and provide instructions on what to do should a person get injured.

Often these injuries tend to happen to children or youth, but anyone can get hurt as fire can be a very dangerous thing. Every year, United Hatzalah first responders are dispatched to dozens of medical emergencies resulting from the misuse of fire. The resulting injuries, burns, smoke inhalation and reactions to flammable materials touching the skin are painful and can be deadly.

A United Hatzalah volunteer taking a firefighter to the flames of a forest fire – (Illustration)

The following recommendations are precautions that everyone should take in order to prevent injury and unnecessary disasters.

1: Take great precautions when collecting wood for bonfires.

  • Use only wood that does not contain nails, projections, or other items that stick out that may cause injuries while carrying them. These extraneous items are dangerous to have in bonfires as well.
  • When collecting wood, make sure that there are no animals under or around the wood, and be aware of possible poisonous animals that tend to use it as nests.   

2: When lighting a bonfire make sure that the entirety of the fire is in a location that is clear of any underbrush, thorns, grass, and is an ample distance away from any buildings or parked cars.

3: In light of the extreme heat expected this year during the holiday:  

  • Only light bonfires in locations that are in accordance with city or municipal guidelines
  • Bring lots of water for drinking as well as dousing the fire afterward
  • Appoint a responsible adult to be in charge of the bonfire and make sure that no one, especially children, approaches the fire itself
  • Ensure that an adult stays behind to douse the bonfire and make sure that all flames and embers are put out before leaving the area

4: No child should approach the bonfire to add wood or other flammable materials to the flames

5: The person in charge of the bonfire must make sure that numerous buckets full of water are stationed near the bonfire in the event that the fire suddenly spreads

6: Surround the area of the fire with bricks or stones in order to prevent children from getting close to the fire.  

7: It is prohibited to light a bonfire in close proximity to high-voltage powerlines

8: Parents should ensure that their children do not run near or around a bonfire.

9: Wear long pants and a shirt that will protect from flying embers or sparks

10: Do not spray gasoline or any accelerant on a fire that is already lit. Doing so can be deadly.

11: Do not throw any weapons, fireworks, gunpowder, canisters, empty or otherwise, into a bonfire. They will explode and often will cause injury.  

12: Do not throw coals into a garbage bag or container.

13: Do not burn tires. The smoke resulting from such flames is thick and deadly, especially for children and the elderly.

14: In the event of a fire spreading, call the Fire Department at 102 immediately. Make sure that a path is available for the firetrucks and emergency vehicles to access the area immediately.

15: In the event of a burn, cool the area immediately by running lukewarm tap-water on it.

  • If a burn is severe, immediately call rescue services for help.

16: At the end of the gathering make sure that all fire is completely put out. Lit embers or ashes can cause flare-ups.

  • Pour water and/or sand on the area that the fire was burning to make sure it is entirely put out.

17:   Elderly people and people who are ill should not sit near a bonfire for an elongated period of time.

United Hatzalah wishes everyone a happy, healthy, and safe Lag Ba’Omer.

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A Truck, A Bus, A Car, and Dog, Oh My!

Just before midnight on April 23rd, a serious vehicular accident occurred on Highway 4 at the Givat Shmuel interchange near Ramat Gan. The collision involved a commercial truck, a bus, a private car, and a dog.

Liran treating the injured dog

Riding his speedy ambucycle, Liran was on site in record time to provide life-saving intervention for the truck driver, the most seriously injured victim. The impact of the crash had partially amputated the unfortunate man’s leg – severing his femoral artery. Thankfully Liran arrived in time. He stopped the lethal blood flow with a tourniquet, and then firmly but carefully immobilized the injury and affixed trauma bandages. As Liran worked to save the truck driver, other United Hatzalah medics arrived and treated the other injured parties.

Minutes later, an intensive care ambulance arrived, and Liran assisted the crew in securing the truck driver onto a backboard and loading him into the vehicle for a classic “scoop and run” to the nearest trauma center.

Liran’s ambucycle at the scene-9

When the ambulance left, witnesses at the scene informed Liran that a dog had also been seriously injured in the accident. Together with a doctor who had responded to the accident, Liran treated the wounded canine at the scene. The doctor said he would drive the dog to a veterinarian he knew, so the pair of medics loaded the dog into the doctor’s, who took the pooch to his friend for further treatment.

Thanks to Liran’s swift intervention the truck driver and the dog as well as others received the medical attention they needed in the minutes that mattered most.

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Whatever Will Do The Job

In addition to ambucycles, ambubikes, and ATVs, United Hatzalah also utilizes emergency fly cars to enable some of their more experienced volunteers to reach medical emergencies faster. These cars are registered emergency vehicles complete with lights and sirens and are able to rush from emergency to emergency and arrive faster than regular cars.

Ariel’s car

Ariel Ben David is one such volunteer who has received a fly car from the organization due to his expertise and his experience as a volunteer as well as his having served in numerous leadership positions within the organization.

 

On a recent Thursday, a driver was cruising down the highway near Shoham when he became distracted and crashed into the back of a tractor-trailer. Witnesses urgently called for help.  Ariel was already on the same highway in his fly car when his walkie-talkie crackled, alerting him to the serious accident. Instantly, Ariel flipped on his lights and sirens and sped to the location – arriving first on site.

 

The car had borne the brunt of the impact, and Ariel quickly checked the vehicle for victims. A 40-year-old man suffered multiple wounds and possible spinal injuries.  Together with arriving United Hatzalah ambucycle medics, Ariel secured the man’s airway, staunched bleeding and provided immobilization. The medics also treated the 18-year-old tractor-trailer driver who, protected by the heavy vehicle, sustained only minor injuries. In the fastest time possible, the victims were prepped and ready for transport. Ambulances arrived and the victims were rushed to the nearest trauma center.

 

In another incident, a 74-year-old tourist from Mexico had been visiting Israel when he suffered a heart attack and collapsed on the floor of his hotel room. The man’s panicked wife was sobbing and shouting for help. A private physician hired by the hotel staff soon arrived to initiate CPR, calling emergency dispatch to request back-up.

 

It was late Shabbat afternoon when Ariel received the alert. The devoted EMT rushed out to his fly car and quickly sped to the area. He grabbed the AED and raced inside to the couple’s hotel room.

Ariel found the elderly man pulseless on the floor, with the physician busily performing chest compressions. The volunteer medic quickly attached the defibrillator pads to provide a pair of powerful electric shocks from the AED. Additional United Hatzalah volunteers soon arrived to assist, followed by the crew of a Mobile Intensive Care Unit. An IV was attached, cardiac medications were provided and soon the combined team managed to restore a steady pulse. The patient even began breathing again independently.  The man was then evacuated to the hospital for emergency catheterization.

 

Thanks to his experience and his emergency vehicle Ariel was able to provide vital treatment in as short a time as possible with a caring hand.

 

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United Hatzalah Augments Tel Aviv Team Ahead of Eurovision and White Night

Tonight, from all over the country, United Hatzalah volunteer ambucycle drivers are heading to Tel Aviv to provide emergency medical coverage at the plethora of cultural events taking place in the city over the weekend. With the semi-final and final performances of Eurovision, as well as Tel Aviv’s annual White Night celebrations, the city has drawn thousands of celebrants who will be enjoying the festivities.

United Hatzalah volunteers on duty at Rabin Square

In preparation for the weekend, the organization is augmenting its teams of volunteers in the city by bringing in additional personnel to bolster the medical coverage. More than 50 ambucyclists from across the country will be heading to Tel Aviv to provide emergency medical first response to anyone in need. The organization opened the invitation to all of its volunteers but specifically requested that ambucyclists participate as they can navigate the traffic resulting from the large number of events faster than cars or ambulances.

 

Shraga Kirshenbaum, Head of Operations for the Tel Aviv chapter of United Hatzalah, spoke about the preparations being made for the weekend. “United Hatzalah issued a request for additional volunteers in Tel Aviv this weekend with a special focus on Thursday and Saturday nights. This year we had a groundswell of interest from volunteers across Israel. Our automotive department has made it possible for any ambucycle volunteer from anywhere in the country wishing to participate, to be able to come to Tel Aviv and volunteer as part of the team here.”

Volunteers and their ambucycles on duty at Azrieli Center

“Many volunteers like to come and attend these events,” said Noa Berger, who heads recruitment for the organization in Tel Aviv. “While they are in attendance, they will be on call.  Something that I take pride in seeing is when volunteers are enjoying themselves at a concert or a show and in spite of that, still rush out to help someone in their vicinity. While they are enjoying the city, they recognize that true enjoyment comes from the work of helping another person in their time of need. That is the true reason why all of these volunteers have come here to join us this weekend.”

 

Chapter Head Dani Shmuel said: “We have been doing this type of preparation for the White Night for several years now. This year we are asking other volunteers from around the country to help out even more due to the added crowds that Eurovision has brought to the city. We are proud to be able to provide free emergency medical service to all of the participants of both the White Night and Eurovision.”  

 

Deputy Chapter Head Avner Ben David added that the volunteers are being divided up by events throughout the city and that the organization is sending groups of volunteers to different areas where major events are taking place. “We are giving electronic maps to all of the volunteers on their phones for where the events are taking place so that they can navigate through traffic and arrive as fast as possible should their assistance be needed.”

 

One local business teamed up with the organization to assist. Bourekas Amikam located on Ibn Gvirol Street in the heart of the city will be providing any United Hatzalah volunteer first responder with free bourekas and a drink to help them with their work throughout the evening.

 

“On nights like this I’m especially happy to be a part of this city and proud to be a part of this organization whose volunteers band together to help wherever and whenever needed,” Kirschenbaum concluded.

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International Philanthropist Miles S Nadal, Dedicates Major Section of Building For Israeli EMS Organization

The Miles S Nadal Family Square 

Renowned International Philanthropist Miles S Nadal and his Family, who previously donated 10 ambucycles to Israel’s national volunteer EMS organization United Hatzalah, has now donated the new Miles S Nadal Family Square outside the organization’s Jerusalem headquarters. The organization uses the Beautiful Garden for all of its vehicle dedications that take place in Jerusalem.   

Miles Nadal (Center – Seated) on one of the ambucycles he donated to United Hatzalah of Israel

Mr. Nadal is a Toronto native who resides in The Bahamas. He was born in 1958 to a family of modest means and is now a renown International Entrepreneur, Industrialist, and Philanthropist.

 

The economic disparity that his parents strove to minimize was the backdrop of Miles’ childhood. As he watched his parents work tirelessly to provide for his brother and himself, Miles’ lifelong admiration of strong work ethics and ambitious determination was born, and his support for those needing an opportunity to build their dreams remains his guiding principle in business to this day. His favorite quote is,

 

“A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove… but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.” – Forest E. Whitcraft

Miles (center) with United Hatzalah volunteers

Having met Eli Beer and seeing the zeal of the man who founded and runs Israel’s largest all-volunteer EMS organization, Nadal heard about and recognized the need to expedite emergency services to those in need. It is for this reason that Nadal donated to the furthering of   United Hatzalah’s ambucycle unit. Since their inception, the use of ambucycles for first response has proven to be a critical link in the emergency chain of survival, allowing rescue personnel immediate access to the scene or home of a patient.

 

The success of the ambucycle unit is proven in the numbers, with response time averaging 90 seconds as drivers can avoid traffic, road closures and parking limitations. A volunteer with an ambucycle receives 40 calls a month and on average saves 120 lives a year. The Miles Nadal fleet of ambucycles is saving on average 1,120 lives a year.

 

“Once I told Miles about the new building initiative that we have taking place at our headquarters in Jerusalem, he very much wanted to be a part of it,” said Eli Beer. “Miles is one of the most incredible and Generous supporters of Israel that I have had the pleasure to meet. His efforts to support life-saving and educational work across Israel inspires many people to follow in his footsteps. I am very proud to have such a good relationship and friendship with him and his family. We are thankful that he is such a strong supporter of the work that United Hatzalah does for the people of Israel.”    

The Miles S. Nadal Square

Miles Nadal commented “ from the first time I met Eli, and I saw the extraordinary work of United Hatzalah and the remarkable volunteers, I was overwhelmed by the importance of this incredible organization and its impact on all communities that they serve. My family and I felt honored and privileged to be able to commit our time, talent and treasure to help foster the further growth and prosperity of their life-saving efforts .

 

Nadal and his family have donated to numerous other philanthropic initiatives both in Israel , United States and in Canada which include: The Miles Nadal Jewish Community Center in Toronto Canada, MNJCC, the large-scale sustainable development and renewal project at Israel’s Ayalon Canada Park, the Miles S. Nadal Institute for Technological Entrepreneurship in Tel Aviv University, the Miles and Kelly Nadal and Family Laboratory for Research in Molecular Genetics Weizmann Institue of Science, the UJA Walk With Israel in Toronto Canada, and the Miles S. Nadal and Family Wall in Yad Vashem, and Duvdevan, the special operations unit of the IDF .

 

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Friends of United Hatzalah of Israel to Honor U.S. Ambassador David Friedman with the Jerusalem Award at its 2nd Annual New York Gala

Israel’s largest independent, non-profit, fully volunteer Emergency Medical Service organization is expected to raise thousands to support lifesaving of people of Israel regardless of race, religion, or national origin

(Photo: Alan Dershowitz (left) Ambassador Friedman (Center) and Eli Beer (Right) at a recent event in Israel
Credit: United Hatzalah)

Friends of United Hatzalah of Israel (www.israelrescue.org) announced today that U.S. Ambassador David Friedman will be honored with the Jerusalem Award at the 2nd Annual Gala taking place on May 30th at Chelsea Pier in New York.  The Ambassador will be recognized for making history and playing a prominent role in moving the U.S Embassy to Jerusalem, the home of United Hatzalah of Israel. For more information on the gala  WWW.UHLAGALA.COM.

 

More than 1,000 people are expected to attend the philanthropic event, including elected officials, civic figures and community leaders. The evening will pay tribute to the 5,000 volunteers around the country that are the core of United Hatzalah of Israel and the organizations’ capabilities of providing service to an entire country around the clock – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

“Ambassador Friedman has been a proud supporter of United Hatzalah. Bringing unity to the region through lifesaving is one of the goals and mission of the organization — something that the Ambassador values as well,” said Eli Beer, President and Founder of United Hatzalah.  Over the past ten years, the Ambassador has recognized the importance of saving lives in Israel by providing quick treatment by highly trained medical responders.

Following the fundraising success in London and Los Angles where the organization was able to increase its medical support in various communities throughout Israel, United Hatzalah is excited by the tremendous support they have already received from the New York Community, and are looking forward to hosting its’ 2nd Annual gala in the Big Apple.

The event will be chaired by United Hatzalah Gala Chairman and supporter Ami Pomeranc, and co-chaired by Mitchell Moinan with a performance by Israeli singer Dudu Aharon and hosted by Rona – Lee Shimon, star of the Netflix hit series Fauda.

The gala will take place at Chelsea Piers on May 30th and begin at 6:30 pm. Tickets are available online athttps://www.uhnygala.com/

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EMS Vehicle Donated To Israel In Memory Of Poway Shooting Victim On Yom Hazikaron

Just two weeks ago, Lori Gilbert Kaye was shot and killed in a synagogue in Poway, California on the seventh day of Pesach.

The attack which claimed her life and injured several others was so horrific that it has impacted people globally and inspired the friends of “Milt’s Barbeque For the Perplexed”, a restaurant in Chicago, to donate a lifesaving vehicle to United Hatzalah of Israel in her memory.

Jeff Aeder, Driver Eli Zohar, and President and Founder Eli Beer

The emergency fly car will be dedicated on Yom Hazikaron at a special ceremony at the organization’s headquarters in Jerusalem.

President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer spoke about the unique nature of this donation. “This is such a beautiful way to honor such a special woman who was just going to pray Yizkor, the memorial prayer, on Pesach when this happened to her. What an amazing way to honor her life by saving so many lives in her memory. Now lives will be saved because of Lori.”

Fro left – Aeder, Zohar, Beer and Chairman of the Board Mark Gerson

Milt’s Barbeque is not a typical kosher restaurant. It is a restaurant that aims to build a community around food and allow for its community in Chicago to help others both at home and around the world by donating all of the proceeds from the restaurant to charity.

The dedication of the new fly-car

A representative from the restaurant explained the business model as such: “Our community has always been the focal point of our business, which is why we believe in giving back. 100% of our profits go to a different charity every month. Our goal is to nourish both the body and the mind and to make this world a little more caring and a lot more understanding.”

He added: “Following the horrific tragedy in California, where Anti-Semitism took another soul from us,e have chosen to donate a lifesaving vehicle to United Hatzalah. Lori Gilbert-Kaye was shot as she jumped in front of the Synagogue Rabbi to protect him. We will never forget her courage and her sacrifice. This vehicle will be used by E.M.S. volunteers and will enable them to respond as quickly as possible to emergencies. We will believe kindness and love are stronger than hate, and we vow to continue to work and pray to save lives. Our answer to hate is saving lives.”

To support the work of United Hatzalah click here:

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CEO of United Hatzalah Responds to State Comptroller Report on Emergency Medicine

United Hatzalah CEO Moshe Teitelbaum responded to the State Comptroller’s Report concerning the organization, Magen David Adom and the state of pre-hospital emergency medicine in Israel that was published on Monday.

United Hatzalah volunteers together with their ambucycles

“We are pleased that the State Comptroller raised the pertinent issues regarding the health of Israeli citizens and among them issues the directly result in saving lives of the country’s citizens. We hope that the Health Ministry and Magen David Adom will adopt these findings and recommendations and that together, we will double the strength of Israel’s lifesaving force by fully including the 5,000 volunteers that make up our organization.

The shortage of ambulances during a time of national emergency as described in the report can be solved by adopting our program of 600+600 that would see the 600 private ambulances around Israel used and dispatched during a time of national emergency as well as on a regular basis to assist in the treatment and transport of injured and sick people to the hospital.

In light of the criticism, we hope that the Health Ministry, which is re-organizing the management of the entire field of pre-hospital emergency medicine, will work quickly to finally bring about full cooperation between Magen David Adom and our organization as well as with the private ambulance companies. Such cooperation would add greatly to the security and health of all of Israel’s citizens.

The State Comptroller warned that during a national emergency there would be a severe shortage of qualified EMTs and paramedics. We, therefore, repeat and stress the importance of cooperation between all of the organizations working in prehospital emergency medical care in Israel.

We call upon the Health Ministry to implement the recommendations of the State Comptroller quickly and equally. The current solution that was provided by the Health Ministry of a dispatching application for all responders equally, has resulted in extreme lapses between dispatching volunteers of different organizations and endangers the lives of responders who ride motorcycles to emergencies. There are, unfortunately, many bugs in the current application with regards to finding the exact location of an emergency. In addition, hundreds of volunteers from United Hatzalah have still not been connected to the application.

With regards to the operation of a dispatch center by United Hatzalah, every citizen has the right to contact our dispatch center that serves as an alternative for those among the populace who do not have the financial ability to call for a regular ambulance. We are certain, that the Health Ministry, which is a ministry that cares about the social welfare of its people, will take this important fact to heart when establishing their new protocols.

United Hatzalah is always ready to cooperate with the staff and volunteers of Magen David Adom in order to save lives and assist any citizen or resident of Israel who requires assistance and we will always provide that assistance free of charge.”

To support United Hatzalah of Israel click here:

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Following Anti-Semitic Attack, Volunteer First Responder Donates Medical Kit To Nairobi Chabad House

Following the anti-Semitic robbery that targeted the Chabad House in Nairobi, Kenya, over Chol Hamoed Pesach, a United Hatzalah volunteer donated a fully-equipped medical kit to the Chabad House. According to the volunteer, who wished to remain anonymous, his reason for donating the kit was to enable the Rabbi and his family to be able to treat anyone who needed medical attention should the need arise once again.

From Left: Shimshi Grossberg, Yanky Hershkop, Yossi Reinitz (Center), with the Chabad Emissaries

During the robbery, the Chabad emissaries were physically attacked, resulting in serious injury with the wife needing surgery in the local hospital. The newly donated bag will allow the emissaries to provide first aid treatment to anyone in need.

 

On Sunday, a group of tourists, among them some United Hatzalah volunteers and friends of the organization, landed in Nairobi. They brought the medical kit with them and delivered it to the Chabad House and taught the family how to use the equipment. They also gave an impromptu course teaching the emissaries how to provide basic CPR, and other first aid care such as applying a bandage and how to deal with choking victims.

President of United Hatzalah Eli Beer spoke about the special delivery: “Volunteers of our organization are involved with saving lives every day both in Israel and abroad. I was very happy to hear about the volunteer’s donation of an emergency medical kit to the Chabad House in Nairobi after the tragic incident that took place two weeks ago. I am equally happy that other volunteers took the initiative to deliver the bag and give basic training to the family who lives there. Now there will be another point on the globe that United Hatzalah has touched and has helped save lives.”

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It Is All Worth It

My name is Lahav Peled and I’ve been a United Hatzalah volunteer for a bit more than a year. I live in Kiryat Tivon, a town near Haifa, in northern Israel. My family and I were visiting my wife’s parents in Qatzrin over the intermediate days of Pesach and while we were sitting down to eat, my bluebird device alerted me that there was a man choking near my location. I dropped my fork onto the table, made my apologies for leaving and rushed outside. I got into my car and drove to the address listed on the location indicator on my phone.  

Lahav Peled 

Qatzrin, the capital of the Golan region, is not a big city and I arrived at the scene fairly quickly. When I walked in the door, I found a grown man trying to care for his elderly father who was 84 – years – old. The older man’s lips were blue and I saw that there was a food tray nearby. I asked the son what had happened. He explained that he lives alone with his father and that he has no other family on this earth. His father is everything to him and that he cares for him by himself.

 

He was very agitated I could tell. The father didn’t seem to be breathing but still had a pulse. I asked the son if his father had eaten anything and he replied in the affirmative and that he had stopped speaking a few moments ago and turned blue. I checked the older man’s airway and indeed he was not breathing and some of the food was lodged in his throat. I picked the man up from his chair and performed the Heimlich maneuver. A piece of food shot out of his mouth on the fourth squeeze. The father began to cough and breathe once more. The son began to thank me profusely. As we waited for the ambulance to arrive I continued to treat the father by providing him with oxygen while simultaneously calming and reassuring the son. The danger was over. HIs father needed to still go to the hospital to receive further care, but for now, he was stable.

 

The Golan Heights and the city of Qatzrin are especially far from any hospital. It took about 15 minutes for the first ambulance to arrive. Had I not been around to provide treatment for this man, it is very likely that he would not have finished the holiday in good health.

This was the first time that I had ever performed the Heimlich maneuver on someone. I’ve saved lives before, via CPR and other instances, but this was the first time I saved a life by myself.

 

It is the greatest feeling in the world to know that I have saved a person’s life with my own hands. I am a police officer in my day-to-day job so I am accustomed to emergencies, but saving someone’s life with my bare hands is still a relatively new feeling. This is what I joined United Hatzalah for, and I can say without a doubt, that every call I have ever responded to and all of the hours of training I’ve undergone to get here are all worth it knowing that this man is alive and his son will not mourn today.

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