On Thursday at 9:30 a.m. the directorship of the Israel Rescue Coalition (IRC) met in order to make plans for deployment to Florida in the wake of Hurricane Irma. Members of Israel’s Search and Rescue Units, as well as medical and psychological first aid responders from United Hatzalah (UH), discussed plans for deployment and it was decided that the team will be deployed in Miami on Sunday morning.  

Members of United Hatzalah and the IRC train for disaster response scenarios in Israel
Members of United Hatzalah and the IRC train for disaster response scenarios in Israel

“Our teams have already begun assembling data and connecting with local teams on the ground in Florida as well as the Israeli consulate and getting regular updates and assessments from the ground,” said Dov Maisel, Director of International Operations for the IRC as well as Vice President of UH. “We spent the day gearing up so that we can make a quick departure on Saturday night in order to arrive in Florida on Sunday morning, hopefully before the full brunt of the storm hits.”


The team will consist of eight members leaving from Israel who will be joined in Florida by four people from the U.S. who will be running logistics and organizing community response. The IRC and UH invite people from the community to get in touch with the teams should they feel they need assistance by contacting the U.S. based team members at  [email protected]


Among the team members making preparations to depart are a team search and rescue veterans who are trained for rescues on land and by sea, diving teams, veteran EMS, and natural disaster personnel, as well as a group of Psychotrauma and Crisis Response unit members following the success of this unit’s deployment in Texas last week.  


“We’re trying to get out in front of this as much as possible. With resources and volunteers already heavily engaged in Texas, if Irma strikes hard in Florida, people on the ground there will need as much help as they can get, and we are not hesitating to deploy and assist in any way we can,” said Maisel.


This is the IRC’s fourth international mission in three years having had members dispatched to Nepal following the 2015 earthquake, to Haiti in 2016 following Hurricane Matthew, and most recently in Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.


To donate to help the rescue efforts please click here: https://israelrescue.org/campaigns/irmarescuemission