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Realizing You are 30 Meters From Disaster
Dovi Meyer has a lot of accreditation to his name. Among the many volunteering activities which he takes upon himself is being a volunteer EMT and dispatcher in both Israel and Australia. Meyer, who is currently staying in central Jerusalem for a visit, has been responding to emergency calls with his fellow United Hatzalah first responder volunteers non-stop. In the past week alone he has responded to close to 70 emergencies in his area.
“I believe that helping people is something that I have a responsibility to do and thanks to United Hatzalah I have both the knowledge and the tools to do so,” Meyer said.
As a volunteer responder Meyer himself goes on calls in his vicinity, as a dispatcher for both countries, he helps notify other responders of emergencies in their vicinity by utilizing cutting-edge technology on his smartphone and bluebird communication device.
On Tuesday afternoon, Meyer received notification of an emergency in Jerusalem and was going about dispatching the location when he realized that the address was some 30 meters from where he was standing.
The emergency took place when a man was offloading a safe from the back of a truck. The safe fell off of the loading ramp of the truck and knocked the man unconscious while also causing severe internal injuries.
“I rushed over and arrived in less than a minute. I gathered some bystanders to help me leverage the safe up and off of the man using the back of the truck for support. It took the ambulance 20 minutes to arrive. We were very lucky that advanced life support volunteers from United Hatzalah who live in the community responded to help stabilize the patient. While he has a very long road of recovery ahead due to some very serious internal damage, at least we were there to help stabilize him and make sure that he was no longer in life-threatening danger.”
Meyer has been a first responder for some six years since he was 16 years old. “I have never before seen anything like the situation which we dealt with on Tuesday. It was one of the cases where had we not been there with immediate intervention, the person would have died. While I have aided in life-threatening situations before, the level of severity of the crush symptoms in this case, was something I have never seen prior.”
Meyer set a goal for himself of responding to 70 calls in a week and dedicating the acts of loving kindness and help that he provides to Israel’s 70th birthday. In the end, he responded to far more than 70. “I don’t believe in simply visiting somewhere or going on vacation and putting everything behind me and relaxing. Wherever I go I try to help the people around me. Like many other first responders, volunteers as well as medical professionals, it is in my blood and has become a part of who I am. At this point, it is a need that I have to help people however and wherever I can.”
On Passover, Meyer, who was then in Sydney, Australia, was contacted to help United Hatzalah in Israel with a special project. “As I had gone through dispatcher training with the organization they asked me to login as a dispatcher from Australia over the festival and Shabbat in Israel. Due to the large time difference, I was able to perform the duties of a dispatcher when it was before and after the festival from where I was and thus cut down on the amount of desecration of the Shabbat and holiday in Israel. It is truly amazing what we can do now with the advanced NowForce and Bluebird technologies that the organization possesses. I saw the emergencies on my screens here in Australia and was able to dispatch people in real time in Israel. It has become a much smaller world than before.”
Meyer is also a registered EMT in Australia and volunteers with the local Hatzolah organization in Sydney. “Growing up in Sydney and seeing the local Hatzolah going out to emergencies all the time I was fascinated by the field of emergency medicine. When I turned 16 I began to take training courses and volunteer and ever since then it has been a part of who I am. I owe my love of this field to Hatzolah Sydney. It is a terrific organization and one I am happy to be a part of.”