On Tuesday night, just five days after the Meron tragedy, United Hatzalah held a mass-casualty-incident (MCI) training drill in the northern city of Kiryat Shmona. The drill simulated a motor vehicle accident involving two minibusses that left 30 people of various ages “injured”. Participating in the drill together with United Hatzalah was the IDF, the Upper Galilee, and Mt. Hermon Search and Rescue Units, The Psychotrauma team run by Dr. Moshe Farchi of Tel-Chai College, the Fire Department, and the police department.  

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UH volunteers and IDF soldiers participating in the drill (Photo credit: Shira Hershkop)

The drill simulated more than 30 casualties all of whom had sustained various injuries. The use of make-up and special effects were employed in creating a realistic scenario in which emergency medical service personnel from all of the different organizations involved could identify and treat the injured. 

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Chapter head Vicki Tiferet treating a “patient” during the drill (Photo credit: Shira Hershkop)

Chapter Head of the Upper Galilee Chapter, Vicki Tiferet spoke about the success of the drill. “The training drill was successful and incredibly helpful in providing our volunteers with a chance to hone their skills in treating severe trauma victims while working in partnership with the other rescue forces that would arrive in such a situation. Everyone, both the United Hatzalah volunteers as well  as the other emergency personnel who responded to the incident worked really hard and surpassed my expectations.” 

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UH and IDF personnel participating in the drill (Photo credit: Shira Hershkop)

President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer spoke about the importance of training drills like this one, especially following the Meron tragedy. “Last month, we held an MCI training drill in Nahariya. The volunteers who participated in that drill were better prepared to respond to the tragic event that took place this past week in Meron, and I have no doubt that the training they received resulted in a faster response in Meron and better care being provided for the injured. I have no doubt that the emphasis which United Hatzalah places upon constantly training our volunteers, especially MCI training, resulted in lives being saved in Meron. That is why we continue to conduct these training exercises so that all of our volunteers can participate in these drills and experience the chaos that can occur during an MCI and learn how to make order out of it on every operational level, from the head of our operations and medical departments to each and every volunteer. During an MCI, the decisions made by each and every individual volunteer, as well as larger operational decisions, can save many lives. We need to be ready because the next MCI is not a question of if, but when. The more joint exercises like this that we do, the better the cross-organizational cooperation will be during a real-life incident and that will result in the patients receiving better care faster and more lives being saved.”

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UH volunteers participating in the drill Photo credit: Shira Hershkop)

United Hatzalah wishes to thank the Municipality of Kiryat Shmona, the Upper Galilee and Mount Hermon Search and Rescue Units, the IDF, the Fire Department, and the Police Department for their cooperation and collaboration in conducting this drill. 

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