Israel’s Magen David Adom (MDA) national emergency response network recently hosted 46 Red Cross representatives from 27 countries in a first-of-its-kind conference to share lessons learned from responding to violent attacks on civilian populations.

Initiated and organized by MDA in collaboration with the Norwegian Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the three-day conference drew participants from nations such as Canada, Germany, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Kenya, Philippines, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United States and Ukraine.

For example, French Red Cross reps discussed how they dealt with the terror attacks in Paris and Nice, while Belgian reps shared their conclusions from the Brussels attack. Kenyan participants discussed tragic incidents in which MDA offered assistance.

In light of the recent rise of mass-casualty attacks on civilian populations in places such as the United States and Europe, MDA teams demonstrated specific skills and shared valuable lessons gathered from treating casualties of terror attacks in Israel, providing insights for Red Cross members to improve their training and response mechanisms.

The participants also got a unique chance to witness how MDA teams operate in mass casualty events, during a drill in the city of Modi’in.

Cap: Conference delegates watched a mass-casualty drill in Modi’in to see how MDA operates. Photo: courtesy
Cap: Conference delegates watched a mass-casualty drill in Modi’in to see how MDA operates. Photo by Shahar Hezkelevich/MDA

“When it comes to saving lives, there aren’t any differences; a human is a human regardless of its religion, race, or gender,” said MDA Director General Eli Bin.

“The relationship between MDA and the national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies around the world are founded on a deep, years-long friendship,” Bin continued. “All of the organizations believe in saving lives as their highest value, and so when it comes to this matter, we all speak the same language. With the recent rise of mass casualty incidents around the world, we hosted this conference in order to unite forces and reach common conclusions on saving lives.”