34 Charedi Women graduated a United Hatzalah EMT course on Thursday, joining the Women’s Unit of the organization. The newly trained EMTs will be tasked with providing emergency medical care as first responders to women in the Charedi communities of Jerusalem and the surrounding area.
Director of United Hatzalah’s Women’s Unit Gitty Beer said: “This amazing group of 34 women that graduated on Thursday evening will be responding to all types of emergency medical calls, but their primary task will be providing the much-needed response to particularly delicate calls in which women are involved and providing an extra element of care to an already traumatic medical emergency. We’ve found that having women respond to help other women allows the patients to feel more comfortable and gives them a greater sense of ease during their medical ordeal. The patient feels more comfortable and feels that the EMT understands her a little better if she has a woman treating her.”
Beer, who has been running United Hatzalah’s Women’s Unit for almost two years now added: “This idea of the comfort of the patient is something that holds especially true within the Charedi community.”
Currently the Women’s Unit numbers some 150 volunteers who serve in the communities of Jerusalem, Beitar Illit, Beit Shemesh, Modi’in Illit and Bnei Brak. The Unit is looking to expand to other communities in which this extra level of sensitivity is requested by the community.
Ephraim Feldman, the Chapter Head of United Hatzalah in Bnei Brak spoke about the Unit’s effectiveness in his city. “We have members of the organization’s Women’s Unit here who respond to emergencies when other women in the community are suffering. Medical emergencies in our community are very sensitive and people do not want to broadcast that it is happening. Therefore, members from this unit often respond to emergencies without lights and sirens, and even without wearing vests outside in the streets. They arrive, take their medical kits with them and treat the patient with the highest level of care both for the patient’s medical condition as well as their privacy,” he said.
Feldman added that the project has met with general approval from even the most religious sectors: “The Rabbis of the city are very much in favor of this project and the Women’s Unit in general and how effective it is at protecting the privacy of the patients.”
Overall, United Hatzalah has close to 500 female volunteers in various projects spread throughout the country. The Women’s Unit forms one of those projects and is run specifically in cities with a large Charedi population.