On Friday morning, at the Wolfson buildings on Diskin Street, United Hatzalah inaugurated a new ambulance. “The new ambulance will be a dual purpose ambulance,” said Miriam Ballin, Director of the organization’s Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit. “The ambulance will be providing EMS services free of charge to the residents of the Sha’arei Chessed and Rechavia neighborhoods in the city as well as providing the Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit with an on-scene command center and clinic during large scale traumatic incidents.”
Ballin explained the idea behind the location specific EMS activities of the ambulance. “Residents from the neighborhoods of Shaarei Chessed and Rechavia were among those who supported the project and donated a large portion of the funds used to purchase the new vehicle. Thus we are centralizing the ambulance to these neighborhoods to provide heightened coverage for this area” she explained
United Hatzalah ambulances are used primarily to train new EMTs and Paramedics allowing them to get hands-on experience during an ambulance shift in the city. It will provide EMS care by matching newly trained EMS personnel with veteran drivers and EMTs, working together to treat patients in need of urgent and professional community-based response. The vehicle will only respond to emergency calls that come in through the organization’s emergency hotline of 1221, so as not impinge upon the work of any other ambulance service.
“The community felt there was a need for a faster response that is why so many people from the area got behind this project,” said United Hatzalah Founder and President Eli Beer. “We are overjoyed at the support and the initiative of the people of these communities and we are happy to provide this service for them in times of need,” he added.
“When the vehicle is not being used to provide coverage and answer emergency calls, it will serve its second purpose as the organization’s primary Psychotrauma and Crisis Response ambulance,” Ballin explained. “This ambulance is very unique. It can be divided into two separate clinics and has the ability to expand into a localized command center for the unit by opening a tent from its right side.” The ambulance will be equipped with specialized gear that is used to support patients who are psychologically or emotionally injured during a traumatic event or suffering from shock.
“The ambulance is the first of its kind,” said Ballin. “It is also the first time that these neighborhoods will have their own devoted ambulance on call, and that is something that we feel we want to give back to the community that so staunchly supported this project.”
During the inauguration, Ballin especially thanked Harvey Schwartz from the Captain Leo V. Berger Fund as well as the Karfunkel family who donated large sums to support the purchase of the ambulance. She also thanks the Friedman family and Rabbi Israel Braun who helped spearhead the campaign in the Shaarei Chessed community, and her husband Dr. Adam Ballin for his support throughout the campaign.
Following speeches by members of the organization’s staff and volunteers, Rabbi Rosenthal, the Rabbi of Shaarei Chessed, honored the gathered crowd by offering words of blessing for the project and for its continued success. The ambulance is expected to begin regular shifts in the center of Jerusalem in the coming weeks.