“Direct Missile Strike!” – On Monday evening that was the emergency alert received by dozens of first responders in the region of Kvutzat Yavneh as part of the joint training drill that was conducted by United Hatzalah and the IDF. Responders rushed to the scene and began to treat the simulated injuries, just as they would in a real incident. The drill which included members of the IDF’s Search & Rescue Unit and Paratroopers Commando Unit simulated a Mass-Casualty Incident (MCI) caused by a direct missile hit on the kibbutz’s dining room.

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United Hatzalah volunteers working together with IDF soldiers to treat the simulated wounded

Dozens of EMTs, paramedics, doctors, and members of the Psychotrauma & Crisis Response Unit, from United Hatzalah’s Hevel Sorek chapter, participated in the drill as did several units from the IDF and the kibbutz’s emergency team. The drill involved the use of over a dozen ambulances and ambucycles, a mobile Command and Control vehicle, as well as several drones.

Director of United Hatzalah’s Operations Division Gilad Solomon explained the objectives of the drill and said: “In any large-scale emergency situation, United Hatzalah’s medical teams will be among the first to arrive at the scene. The goal is to prepare for any scenario by perfecting the cooperation and synchronization with other emergency bodies such as the IDF, with an emphasis on the smooth transfer of information from the field.”

Participants were not familiar with the scenario prior to the start of the drill and arrived at the kibbutz with just the information that a missile strike had occurred. As members of the different emergency bodies responded, they were forced to practice combined search and rescue efforts with the understanding that there were likely more than a few individuals who were trapped under simulated debris. Twenty minutes later, the drill took a turn of pace as a second simulated missile “struck” the kibbutz’s busy dining room, leaving several dozens of kibbutz members injured with a variety of injuries ranging in severity.

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IDF Homefront Command search and rescue unit rescuing simulated trapped people from the wreckage

Volunteers from United Hatzalah and the IDF soldiers perfected their collaboration in the triage, treatment, and evacuation of the wounded under the guidance of United Hatzalah’s mobile Command and Control center.

Teenagers from the kibbutz participated in the drill and acted as injured persons while covered with horrific moulage injuries. To add simulated chaos, the teenage actors were instructed to run around the kibbutz screaming, as would likely happen in a real scenario. Adding to the chaotic atmosphere were artificially-generated smoke and the recorded sound of ambulance sirens that helped create a realistic atmosphere.

Director of United Hatzalah’s Medical Division Elad Bachar praised the participants and said: “The objective was for our volunteers to practice providing a quick and efficient medical response in an extremely challenging environment. Being able to make sense of the chaos that characterizes events such as MCIs is the only way to reach a positive outcome should a real instance occur. The professionalism and investment of all the forces that participated in the drill were remarkable.”

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United Hatzalah EMTs carrying an “injured” man on a stretcher together with a member of the kibbutz emergency team

Nir Better, deputy head of United Hatzalah’s Hevel Sorek chapter spoke about the reason why this scenario was selected for the drill: “We wanted the chapter’s volunteers to practice an MCI and thought about the scenario of a missile strike because only 40 kilometers separate us from the Gaza Strip. Unfortunately, the scenario of a direct hit on a populated area is very plausible. In the event of such a scenario, cooperation with government bodies as well as local bodies will be key. We wish to thank the leadership of the Kibbutz as well as the IDF for partnering with us to make this drill the success that it was. We are very pleased with the performance of all involved and with the smooth inter-agency communication that developed.”

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