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Getting There, No Matter What
Itamar Amsalem is one of close to 150 first responders with United Hatzalah in the city of Beit Shemesh. Due to the many treks through forest terrain in the area, United Hatzalah of Beit Shemesh assigned an all-terrain rescue vehicle to the region which Amsalem has been tasked with operating. Both Amsalem and the ATV are often involved in complex evacuations.
In the last month, Amsalem used the vehicle numerous times to rescue injured hikers who were stranded in areas that were inaccessible to regular vehicles including ambulances.
In one incident, a 65-year-old grandmother was with her extended family on a springtime hike in the Dolev stream when she slipped on a loose rock and fell, breaking her ankle. The location was deep in the ravine, so upon receiving the alert from United Hatzalah dispatch Amsalem jumped into the ATV and raced to the scene. The woman was in extreme agony, surrounded by concerned friends and family. Amsalem immobilized the woman’s leg, took vital signs, helped her climb into the ATV and carefully drove her to the waiting ambulance where she was transferred to the care of the waiting ambulance crew.
In a similar incident, a 75-year-old woman was hiking with her family in the Carmilla stream and also fell and broke her ankle, kilometers away from the nearest road. This time the mountainous area was too extreme even for United Hatzalah’s ATV, forcing Amsalem to traverse the rocky hills on foot, still, he was the first responder at the scene having traversed some of the terrain with the ATV. After arriving, he spoke soothingly to the distraught woman as he immobilized her leg and took her vital signs. Knowing that she would have to be carried via stretcher for a lengthy trek over rough terrain, Amsalem called for back-up. Soon more than half a dozen other United Hatzalah first responders arrived. The team secured the woman to a stretcher and carried her almost 6 kilometers through the hills until they reached the paved road. They lifted her into the awaiting ambulance and she was rushed to the hospital. It had been a full half of a day since Amsalem got the alert, and he returned home exhausted but elated that he had been there to help rescue the woman.
Chapter head of United Hatzalah Beit Shemesh David Leff said: “The area around Beit Shemesh is known for being a favorite spot for hikers and nature lovers. We have dozens of hiking and cycling trails that are frequented by hundreds of people each week. When an emergency occurs in the region our volunteers spring into action and we are committed to providing them with all of the equipment and vehicles necessary for them to reach and treat the patient as quickly as possible. Volunteers like Itamar, who give of themselves every day are what makes our organization the success that it is and provide the patient with the fastest response possible. The ATV is incredibly useful for reaching injured persons in difficult terrain as well as for searching for missing people, and evacuating injured people from construction sites in and around the city.”
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