More than 40 volunteers from United Hatzalah participated in a training drill on the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) that simulated a mass casualty incident on a burning tourist boat. The volunteers, who hailed from Tiberias (Tevaria) and the surrounding area in the Galilee and Golan, joined together with police from Israel’s northern command, the maritime police unit, and other rescue organizations, in a drill that was highly anticipated by all involved. The goal of the drill was to gauge the proficiency of all of the rescue forces in dealing with a mass-casualty-incident on and around the Kinneret ahead of the upcoming swimming season that is set to begin in Israel in just a few weeks.

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Chapter Head of United Hatzalah’s teams in Tiberias and the surrounding region Yossi Oknin spoke about his team’s involvement in the drill. “The drill, which was run under the direction and command of Israel’s police force, simulated the rescuing and treatment of injured people who were pulled from the water following a tourist boat catching fire. The simulation included rescuing injured people from the boat itself, as well as how to rescue those who had jumped into the water in order to avoid the flames.”

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(credit- Shira Hershkof)

United Hatzalah’s Director of Training Drills and Operations Aryeh Shavit said: “Paramedics, EMTs, Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit (PCRU) volunteers, ambulances and ambucycles drivers, as well as our ambuboat team and divers from United Hatzalah all participated in this mass-casualty-incident drill earlier this morning. Our ambuboat team rushed off to rescue and evacuate the injured from the burning vessel as well as pick up those who had jumped into the water. Medical teams on the boat began treatment immediately while the boat transported the injured to shore where first responders and ambulance teams waited to continue treatment and transport those injured to the hospital. Our  PCRU unit members opened stations around the shore to treat the people from the burning vessel who suffered from emotional stress reactions and shock. All together the teams present today showed how effective and smooth a mass-casualty-incident can be run. All of the victims, including those suffering from shock, were treated and transported from the burning vessel to the hospital in a very short time and our teams worked with the highest level of professionalism and care.”

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(Credit – Shira Hershkof)

Organizations and official bodies that participated in the drill included: The Home Front Command, the Fire Department, the City of Tiberias, The Unified Cities Of The Kinneret, The Regional Council of Emek HaYarden, The Water Authority, Zaka, MDA, The Israeli Police and the Search and Rescue Unit of the Police.  

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(Credit – Shira Hershkof)