Dr. Batya Ludman is a United Hatzalah volunteer in the Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit (PCRU), hailing from Ra’anana. This past Friday afternoon, Batya’s daughter Shayna was at the dentist in Herzliya when she heard loud screaming from an apartment in the very building she was in. Shayna walked out of the office into the stairwell hallway and saw smoke wafting from one of the upper floors. 

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UH personnel at the scene of the fire in Herzliya on Friday

A fire had broken out in an apartment on the third floor when an electric bike was charging and short-circuited. Flames erupted from the socket and set the apartment ablaze.  Shayna returned to the dentist’s office and alerted the people inside before calling the fire department and her mother. Dr. Ludman was in her car when her daughter called about the fire. Dr. Ludman then immediately called United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center and requested to go and provide psychological aid to any in need. 


At the building, Shayna was helping to evacuate the neighbors when the fire department arrived and took over the evacuation operation, and made sure that everyone was at a safe distance from the building. When Shayna exited the building, she noticed a distraught woman, who was shouting that her partner was still trapped in the apartment. The firefighters used repelling harnesses to reach the trapped man, and Shayna, being a speech therapist herself, sat down with the woman and helped calm her nerves. She offered her a cup of water and spoke to her until her partner was rescued, and the two were taken to the hospital in an ambulance. 


Batya arrived at the scene shortly after and checked-in with her daughter briefly, before the two tended to the rest of the building residents. The mother and daughter duo assisted the evacuated residents for about an hour, making sure everyone had a place to go, and that no one was too distraught. After the scene was practically empty, they both returned home for Shabbat.


“I grew up with my mother constantly responding to emergencies and helping people in the psychological field. Prior to her arrival at the scene, people were looking very distraught and I knew I had to help,” said Shayna. “Growing up in a medical environment, and being a speech therapist myself, it was my instinct to start helping people and calming them down kicked in. I had the mental strength and the knowledge of what needed to be done that the residents there lacked. Therefore I knew I could help those in need who were suffering from emotional stress. Even though I am not a volunteer myself, I grew up in a volunteering atmosphere, and I’ve seen my mother do this many times and that gave me the tools I needed to help.”

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