Naama Barak
December 17, 2023

As Israel continues to battle the threat of rocket attacks to large parts of the country from Gaza and Lebanon, volunteers from an Israeli Arab city joined forces with the army to simulate emergency response to such mass casualty incidents.

United Hatzalah volunteers from the city of Kfar Kassem in central Israel conducted a comprehensive drill with the IDF’s Home Front Command and local security forces.

The drill incorporated four reports of rocket hits. The main scene of events was a three-floor house that suffered a direct hit, trapping five people under the debris. They were extricated by the Home Front Command and four were treated onsite, while another was pronounced dead, elevating the severity and urgency of the training scenario for the volunteers and soldiers.

One scenario simulated a direct rocket hit on a house. Photo courtesy of United Hatzalah
One scenario simulated a direct rocket hit on a house. Photo courtesy of United Hatzalah

Meanwhile, in another scene, participants rushed to a school that was damaged by shrapnel, where the volunteers treated three people for emotional shock. 

“Dozens of doctors, paramedics, and EMTs from our branch participated in the drill conducted on Sunday night,” said Mohamad Amer, the head of the Kfar Kassem-Kfar Bara-Jaljulia branch of United Hatzalah.

“Utilizing ambulances, off-road vehicles, ambucycles, and other resources, our volunteers delivered a prompt medical response to numerous emergency calls received during the simulated missile attack, and the exercise was deemed a huge success,” he added.

A mass casualty incident drill run by the IDF and United Hatzalah. Photo courtesy of United Hatzalah
A mass casualty incident drill run by the IDF and United Hatzalah. Photo courtesy of United Hatzalah

Dovie Maisel, vice president of operations at United Hatzalah, reflected on the importance of such training exercises.

“Unfortunately, October 7 has shown us the wide range of scenarios for which first responders need to be trained in this country,” he noted. 

“We engage in various types of mass casualty incident training year-round, and we need to maintain our readiness for all of our volunteers. Often these training exercises are held in partnership with the IDF, and their effectiveness paid off in how closely the two entities worked together during October 7, which resulted in many lives being saved.”

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