Israeli EMTs, Paramedics, Doctors and logistics personnel from United Hatzalah travelled to Panama for a week in order to train their Panamanian counterparts in providing the proper response for a Mass Casualty Incident (MCI). The training took place between April 12th and 18th and culminated with an MCI drill that saw thirty mock casualties with a variety of injuries receive treatment from twenty EMS personnel from United Hatzalah of Panama.
Ramon Gateno, the Director of United Hatzalah in Panama said that his team was working closely with the Israeli United Hatzalah team that arrived to train and assist the Panamanian team. “It is due to the Israeli team’s instruction and expertise that the Panamanian team knows how to deal with an MCI so well,” said Gateno who was very pleased with the results of the final drill.
Dovy Maisel, Vice President of United Hatzalah and the Director of International Operations from the Israel office of United Hatzalah and who himself is a medic, was on hand during the drill. “We put a lot of emphasis on dealing with a terror attack due to the current worldwide political situation, but we also drilled responses to natural disasters like the one that took place on Saturday in Ecuador.”
Maisel too was very proud of the interaction between the Israeli team of medics and the local EMS team. He added that “the Israeli team arrived in Panama specifically to train the Panamanian medics, who mainly work out of Panama City. The drill culminated a week’s worth of intense lessons and preparation and presented a mock terror attack that could take place in the heart of the Jewish community in Panama.”
“We drilled the Panama team using the experience and regulations that the Israeli teams have built up over the years in responding to countless attacks,” continued Maisel.
According to Maisel the drill involved working with numerous vehicles in off-road conditions including ambulances and ambucycles as well as drones and other vehicles in an effort to decrease response and treatment time and allow for faster and better triage and treatment.
“We are very thankful for the help that we are getting from the team in Israel,” said treatment commander Dani Mizrachi for United Hatzalah Panama.
United Hatzalah is the national volunteer EMS service in Israel. Their model is now being developed and implemented in numerous other locations around the globe. The organization has international branches in Brazil and Panama and maintains sister organizations in Jersey City, Detroit, India and Bangladesh. The use of advanced communication technology, trained volunteer EMTs and paramedics located within the community and ambucycles that can cut through traffic has enabled United Hatzalah to cut down EMS response time to under three minutes across Israel. The precious minutes saved allow for a much higher chance of survival and recuperation and cut down the trauma suffered by injured persons. It is a model which has stood the test of time and one which is being copied over and over around the globe.