United Hatzalah, Israel’s largest independent, non-profit, fully volunteer Emergency Medical Service (EMS) organization provides fast, free emergency medical first-response throughout the country. The organization has approximately 3,000 volunteers from throughout the spectrum of Israeli society, who all share a single unifying motivation: to save as many lives as possible.
United Hatzalah volunteers, who are all certified EMTs, paramedics, nurses or doctors, respond to any nearby medical emergency, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. They collectively embody a nationwide life-saving network assisting nearly 300,000 people each year. United Hatzalah volunteers respond to an average of 800 calls per day, enabled by the innovative LifeCompass technology developed under the sponsorship of the Irving and Cherna Moskowitz Foundation.
The LifeCompass Command and Dispatch system allows United Hatzalah’s national command center to constantly monitor the location of every United Hatzalah volunteer in the country and automatically dispatch the most appropriate volunteers based on their proximity, means of transport, relevant qualifications, medical equipment and current traffic conditions. Owing to the innovative technology and United Hatzalah’s trademark ‘ambucycles’ – motorcycles fitted with all the necessary medical equipment – average first-response time has reduced from 20 minutes to under three minutes from the receipt of the call, and even a mere 90 seconds in some urban centers.
The LifeCompass system has made a huge impact in the EMS world. “Over 1,600,000 rescue calls have been responded to since we launched the Irving and Cherna Moskowitz LifeCompass technology in 2008,” says United Hatzalah’s Founder and President Eli Beer, “and we are committed to saving millions more.”
The technology has enabled the management of large scale event management, terror attacks and other multi-casualty incidents (MCI). Furthermore, LifeCompass technology has been instrumental in the success of international search and rescue operations, such as the mission to Nepal following the devastating earthquake in 2015. Local and international EMS services have adopted the LifeCompass model to save lives globally.
United Hatzalah is dedicated to continuing to develop new technologies in order to help save as many lives as humanly possible. “Technology is a fantastic tool that we need to put to use in order to respond to emergencies faster to save more lives,” said Beer. “We should never have a situation in which a responder nearby didn’t know about an emergency, or couldn’t arrive on time to save a life. As the technology advances we will be able to cut down our first-response time even more, and hopefully, we will soon achieve a national first-response time of less than 90 seconds.”
As the world’s most innovative EMS organization, United Hatzalah currently has a need to upgrade the technology that they use even further in order to arrive at the 90-second threshold. “Our organization is committed to incorporating cutting-edge technological advancements into the next-generation system,” said Beer. “There is an urgent need to upgrade the comprehensive emergency dispatch and communications technology in order to keep up to date with the new generation of geo-location services technology and integrate it with other technologies that can improve our response by lowering response time,” he added.
One such technological change that the organization is currently in the testing phases of implementation, is to provide all 3,000 volunteers with newer communication devices to replace the outdated MIRS systems. The newer technologies will enable optimal dispatch of first-responders and uninterrupted communication with the continuously expanding volunteer corps and result in more lives saved. “Millions more will continue being served by the upgraded system in the future,” promises Beer.”