United Hatzalah has had an exceptionally eventful year, one which saw a new fleet of ambucycles dedicated, the first ever intensive care ambulance inaugurated, the organization launch two international mission and be recognized as a national rescue agency, the organization has achieved a myriad of goals which have been many years in the making.

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United Hatzalah volunteers rescue people during the Haifa fires in November 2016

The national volunteer EMS organization United Hatzalah has grown by leaps and bounds and has graduated more than 500 new EMS personnel from courses all over the country. In an effort to recognize its new status and growth, the organization also rebranded and developed a new color scheme to help make it more recognizable in the eyes of the public.

Partnering with other EMS organizations such as the American Heart Association (AHA) and National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) has allowed the organization to build up its international brand and in the coming months United Hatzalah will begin training Gap Year Students in Israel who will be able to become certified EMTs both in Israel and in the United States.

The Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit grew exponentially from 30 volunteers to almost 200, with a goal of having 300 active volunteers by the end of the calendar year.

One of our EMTs teamed up with some of our U.S. staff and traveled some 1800 miles across the western United States to share the life-saving model with EMS teams there. While he was touring he was also saving lives, responding to EMS calls with local ambulance teams.

Thousands of people came to visit the national headquarters of United Hatzalah, which inaugurated its brand new, state-of-the-art dispatch center in Jerusalem which will be vital in helping the organization cut down on response time in the field.

Our volunteers saw some tough times and experienced the harshest side of living in Israel. Many of our volunteers responded to terror attacks that took place near their very homes and rushed out to help those in their community or those close by their location but they always helped form the goodness of their hearts even in tough times. More than one volunteer almost lost their home to the fires that ran rampant in Israel towards the end of November last year, but that didn’t stop them from helping others who were less fortunate.

The organization also reached out to segments of the population that are less fortunate, teaching the first ever EMS course given in sign language. It was instructed by the first ever deaf EMT volunteer in Israel.

These are just some of the highlights that the organization has undertaken since the last Jewish new year came around. All of this was done while the organization kept up their regular activities both small and large scale, with joint programs and MCI demonstrations with partnering organizations such as the IDF, the ISDEF, and many others. United Hatzalah also provided EMS support and coverage for the annual pilgrimage to Meron on the holiday of L’ag B’omer, which is the largest gathering of people in Israel every year.

Towards year’s end, the organization expanded its activities once more and now includes a new chapter in a new country. In coordination with the local teams, United Hatzalah opened a chapter in Uman in the Ukraine ahead of the holiday season so as to provide adequate medical coverage for the tens of thousands of people who travel there over the holidays.

Continuously innovating, and finding new ways to make Israel’s EMS response better, United Hatzalah is and will continue to be the most advanced and fastest volunteer EMS organization in Israel, and let’s not forget that all of the organization’s services are 100 percent free.