Working together is the name of the game in a project now underway in Israeli, Palestinian Authority and Jordanian communities. The joint project, Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), aims to train local residents as first responders in case of an earthquake.

“The project is funded by the Peace Partnership of the European Union and has granted us the opportunity to once again promote lifesaving activities together with our friends from the Jordanian Red Crescent, Magen David Adom and the Palestinian Authority’s Green Land Society,” said Professor Limor Aharonson-Daniel, Vice Rector for International Academic Affairs at BGU.

“The collaboration, which began with training the first Jordanian paramedics a decade ago, has continued with the establishment of local emergency-response teams over the past three years. In the future, we aim to establish a Master’s program in emergency response and crisis management,” said Aharonson-Daniel, who leads the project. “Above all, the project has sparked personal relationships and friendships that prove that regional collaboration is indeed possible.”

The project training will provide residents with tools to provide first aid, shelter, psycho-social support, and other emergency care prior to the arrival of professional rescue teams, if an earthquake strikes.

Participants of the project have undergone a 100-hour field course on aspects such as needs assessment, first aid, shelter, hygiene, psycho-social support, search and rescue, firefighting, and community resilience.

The goal of the project also calls on the different first-response teams throughout the region to be prepared to assist one another in case of an emergency.

“An earthquake in the Jordan Valley is an eminent threat that poses a major risk to residents of the area. I would like to commend the residents of the region for participating in the course and giving back to the community. I am confident that collaboration with the Jordanian Red Crescent sets the ground for mutual-assistance in case of emergency along the Great Rift Valley,” said Eli Bin, MDA Director General.