United Hatzalah has completed its nationwide preparations for the coming winter storm that is expected to hit Israel on Wednesday afternoon and evening. As part of these preparations, the organization has issued a list of best practices for getting through the storm safely.
The organization’s teams in the areas that are expecting snow, including the Hermon, Golan and Galil, Beitar Illit and Gush Etzion as well as Jerusalem, have prepared its teams in these areas to be able to continue their emergency response work should snowfall and roads begin to close.
President and Founder of the organization Eli Beer relayed: “United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center will be working with extra manpower in order to dispatch our volunteers to emergencies located in their nearby vicinity as quickly as possible. This is due to the extra challenge faced by ambulances and other emergency vehicles in reaching emergencies through snow-covered roads and finding alternate routes due to closed streets. In times like these, when every minute counts, we rely on the volunteers in each community to assist their neighbors during emergencies.”
Vice President of Transportation Ze’ev Sofer and Vice President of Operations Dov Maisel said: “The volunteers in our 4×4 Unit together with volunteers from Tofa’at Teva, are at the ready and will be dispatched by a specially designed mobile app based on the volunteer’s location and availability, which will dispatch them to an emergency appropriate for their vehicle. These emergencies can include cars that are stuck on the roads, people trapped inside vehicles or elevators, or any other medical emergency that regular responders cannot get to due to the elements.”
“Should road closures occur, the lifesaving activities of our volunteers will continue on 4×4 vehicles as well as on our ATV vehicles that we have spread across these areas where we expect to receive snowfall.”
United Hatzalah’s medical department issued the following instructions to pass through the storm safely:
- Due to the extreme cold that is expected to hit, please refrain from extended exposure that can cause frostbite. Frostbite is a condition that can damage many layers of skin. It can leave scars and in severe cases can even cause gangrene. The parts of the body that are affected by frostbite are the extremities and the face: fingers, toes, the nose, and ears.
- Another danger caused by extended exposure to severe cold is hypothermia, when the body’s temperature drops below normal to a dangerous degree that will cause bodily systems to begin shutting down. This usually occurs when a person’s body temperature falls below 35 degrees Celsius. Without treatment, hypothermia can result in death. One of the causes of hypothermia is bodily exposure to severe cold. While infections or diseases that inhibit the body’s ability to generate heat can cause hypothermia, exposure to severe cold is also a leading cause.
- If there is a suspicion of hypothermia or frostbite, one should move the patient to a warm location and wrap him or her in blankets until emergency services arrive.
- Wear protective and warm clothing if there is a need to go outside for any reason. After returning indoors, change all wet clothing and wear dry garments. Make sure clothing fits appropriately and does not cut off circulation, especially for small children.