Monday started out as a regular morning for Avi Vilman, a United Hatzalah volunteer EMT from Bnei Brak. He got up, went about his normal morning routine and headed out to morning prayers at sunrise. When he finished his prayers, he got on a bus to go to work at the Fire Commissioner’s Office where he serves as the National Rabbinical Coordinator for the Fire Department of Israel.
While on the bus, Vilman received an alert from his United Hatzalah communication device alerting him to a medical emergency nearby. A woman was suffering from cardiac arrest. Without immediate intervention, she would die. VIlman alerted the bus driver who stopped the bus at the next corner and let Vilman off. Vilman raced over to the address and rushed up to her apartment. Being the first responder at the scene, he initiated chest compressions and continued until other EMS responders arrived. After a few long minutes, an ambucycle rider from United Hatzalah arrived and joined Vilman’s effort to save the woman’s life.
Shortly thereafter an ambulance from the organization also arrived and the ambulance team joined the efforts. The team worked in complete synchronization and used every tool at their disposal to save the older woman’s life. Almost 15 minutes went by before a mobile ICU ambulance arrived. The team of advanced responders took over and relieved Vilman and the other responder. Vilman, exhausted, walked outside together with the others knowing that they did everything they could to try to save the woman. With one good deed turning into another, the ambulance driver offered to give Vilman a ride the rest of his way to his office so that he wouldn’t be too late to begin his day.
Each volunteer has their reasons for why they want to save lives. Vilman’s personal experiences are the source of his motivation to help others in need. He reveals, “I joined United Hatzalah after my own grandfather suffered a heart attack. He was a cardiac patient for many years and when he had an attack I felt helpless. I never wanted to feel that way again. Unfortunately, when I was 14, I witnessed an act of violence in which one man stabbed another and I didn’t know how to help. The stabbing victim died. Those two occurrences cemented for me, the will to become an EMT and first responder. Now, when an emergency occurs, I know what to do and I do everything in my power to help.”
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