Hilah Reinkoff is a supervisor of early education and is in charge of overseeing the educational quality and content. She also supervises over the daily operations of a series of daycares in the around Kiryat Gat. In addition to her regular job, she is a volunteer EMT with United Hatzalah.
Last Sunday, Reinkoff was finishing a meeting in one of the daycares that she manages when she was alerted to an emergency at the daycare involving one of the children. A young girl, aged 4, had gotten her head stuck between two metal bars in a fence that separates one of the daycares from another.
“This is the third or fourth time that I have been called to an emergency in one of the daycares in the last year,” said Reinkoff. “The staff all know me and they feel more secure in knowing that I have the training and equipment needed to assist when a medical emergency occurs.”
Reinkoff rushed over to the back of the playground, where the girl had gotten stuck. She calmed the girl down and checked to make sure that she wasn’t injured. She called the Fire Department who dispatched a squad, but before they arrived, Yanki Weinberg, the chapter head of United Hatzalah in the region arrived with another volunteer EMT from the organization. The duo applied a lubricant to the bars and then pulled on them in opposite directions while Reinkoff assisted the girl in passing fully through the bars where her head had gotten stuck.
Reinkoff recounted, “The situation was a bit nerve-wracking, but keeping a cool head when these things happen helps the child stay calm as well as the other children nearby. Thank God the situation wasn’t anything more serious and the girl managed to make it through the bars without being injured in any way. We were able to cancel the Fire Department and keep on going with the daily schedule of the daycare. We alerted the parents to what happened and were able to reassure them that everything was alright.”
For Reinkoff the territory is not new. “We’ve had numerous emergencies over the years. One time a teacher fainted, another time a student had an allergic reaction and there have also been plenty of other instances where my skills have proven useful. It is a good feeling to have the training and equipment needed to treat people on my own staff or the children in the daycare. It is one of the reasons that I took the EMT training course and became a volunteer. It helps the people in my work and helps with my own family as well. I have been in the field of early childhood education for many years and I have been a mother for many years. The training I received still gives me more confidence to act when needed in order to help someone.”
For Reinkoff, the idea of family is an important one and she feels that her family has extended beyond her spouse and children and now encompasses all of United Hatzalah. “The organization is a big family and we really look out for one another. I look at this work, of rushing out to help others, as holy work. When I see others who volunteer for the organization and thereby aspire to the same ethos, I feel connected to them, even if we have never met. People who drop whatever they are doing to go out and save others are truly special people and United Hatzalah is made up of a large family of these people. I am proud to be one of them.”