On Tuesday night, just after 11 p.m., a 30-year-old woman was declared missing from her home. The worried family reported her absence at the local police station. The woman’s possible whereabouts spanned a large area of the Jerusalem forest, an area too large for the local police to cover by themselves.

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United Hatzalah vehicles gather to undertake the search in the forest

As is their custom when performing large scale searches, the police turned to United Hatzalah for help. Mevaseret Zion Chapter Head Maor Nachum received the alert and was given the details and information of where the search was taking place. Within minutes, Maor had mobilized 30 volunteers from the greater Jerusalem area of United Hatzalah and arranged for them to meet at a specific rendezvous point for a briefing and to begin the search.

The volunteers utilized a number of emergency vehicles in their search, which included ATVs, four-by-four trucks, jeeps, and ambucycles. Nearly two dozen volunteers searched on foot as well. The Jerusalem forest at night is very dark and very cold. For that reason, all the volunteers were equipped with their full medical kits including heat-reflecting blankets, flashlights, high-visibility thermal coats, and were ready to provide medical treatment to the woman if she required it once she was found.

After two hours of searching, Maor received a notification from the police that the woman had returned home and was safe. Maor alerted all of the volunteers that the woman was safe and that the search was being called off. Maor, together with the police and representatives from United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center, thanked the volunteers for giving up their evening of spending time with their families, or working, or relaxing. Maor then went with one of the police officers to the woman’s home, in order to check on the woman and make sure that she was in good health. After finding the woman safe and in stable condition, Maor headed home. Maor walked into his front door just after 2:00 a.m.

“The search was able to go function properly and was executed as well as it was, thanks to the incredible teamwork of everyone involved,” commented Maor.

“The cooperation with the police officers at the scene worked exceptionally well. That is something that takes practice and sadly, doesn’t always happen. The volunteers came together as a single unit, even though many of them have never met one another before, and worked cohesively together, in a way that brought a lot of pride to my heart. They split up into teams and coordinated which group would cover what area, almost as if it was second nature to them and that they had done this many times in the past.”

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Maor said that the smoothness of the work is not something that was unique to this operation. “The way that United Hatzalah volunteers simply drop whatever they are doing, rush out to help others in medical emergencies or searching for missing people, and can do so while working together as a team with people whom they have never met before truly amazes me. In my mind, proper teamwork is the key to any successful search. Proper teamwork can benefit every situation that an EMT might find themselves in. United Hatzalah trains its volunteers, and assists them in the field in order to make such teamwork more forthcoming whenever an emergency takes place in order to accomplish the best outcome.”

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