The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews in partnership with United Hatzalah has inaugurated the first emergency electric bicycle unit of its kind, which will enable more than 200 volunteer EMTs and paramedics to respond to medical emergencies in less time, thereby saving lives.
The new unit, which cost $2.5 million features 200 emergency electric bicycles each one equipped with life-saving medical equipment, special safety features, and lights and sirens, to allow the responders who ride them to cut through traffic and narrow alleyways quickly and safely.
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews in collaboration with United Hatzalah has named the bicycle unit in honor of the founder of the International Fellowship, the late Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein.
The activities of United Hatzalah’s lifesaving volunteer network are based, among other things, on a fast, efficient, and extensive transportation system. The benefits of electric bicycles are also reflected as a reliable and available means of transportation for volunteers in impassable locations for vehicles. They are relatively low cost, compared to other means of transportation, which also adds to their efficiency. The new bikes will be active in areas where the necessity and amount of calls and for United Hatzalah is greater.
Just recently, EMTs from the e-bike unit saved the day at the scene of two different emergencies that do not allow quick access to the area with any electric vehicle bigger than electric bicycles. The first one was in the alleys of the Nachlaot neighborhood of Jerusalem, where a child fell from a height, and in the second incident, a man lost consciousness in the Old City of Jerusalem. Their lives were saved thanks to the rapid arrival of the EMTs on electric bicycles who were able to access the narrow passageways and stabilize their conditions.
The inauguration ceremony was held at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation in Jaffa in the presence of the directors of United Hatzalah, the directors of the International Fellowship, public figures, and volunteers.
President of the Fellowship, Yael Eckstein, said, “Saving lives has always been a top priority for the foundation. I am proud to have established, together with our partners in United Hatzalah, such a unit characterized by innovation and agility. I am especially proud that the new unit is named after my father, who dedicated his entire life to saving and helping people. I believe that these new bicycles will provide a quality medical response in emergencies for many people in Israel. I pray that this unit will save many lives.”
President of United Hatzalah, Eli Beer, said, “United Hatzalah’s long-standing relationship with the Fellowship, headed by the late Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein and his daughter, the Foundation’s president, Ms. Yael Eckstein, has assisted United Hatzalah’s diverse medical staff over the years. Our EMTs are Jews and Arabs, men and women, religious and secular, and together they save lives all over the country. It is our privilege that United Hatzalah’s electric bicycle unit is named after the late Rabbi Eckstein. We are excited for the addition of the 200 bicycles that will help save many lives throughout the country and significantly shorten the time of arrival for those in need of urgent medical assistance.”
CEO of United Hatzalah, Eli Polak, said, “This is the launch of the first unit of electric bicycles in the country. The unit exceeds Israeli safety standards and includes full insurance for the riders. Each volunteer riding an emergency bike will be able to significantly shorten the response time as part of our network of emergency first responders spread across the country. The vehicles allow them to bypass traffic obstacles in large and crowded thoroughfares and narrow passageways. This is critical because each second of delay counts to determine the victim’s recovery.”
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