The year 2017 started with a record-breaking feat by Netanya resident Avraham Levi, a volunteer emergency medical technician (EMT) with United Hatzalah, Israel’s national volunteer emergency medical services organization.
During the month of January, Levi responded to 236 emergency calls. That’s an average of eight emergency calls a day.
“In simple math, Levi responded to approximately eight emergency calls per day, and this is the work of a volunteer. He doesn’t get paid for this,” said United Hatzalah Vice President Lazar Hyman.
“So far, this is the record for any individual volunteer EMT with our organization.”
In fact, Levi works full time as a self-employed entrepreneur and also has a wife and two children.
United Hatzalah is comprised of 3,200 volunteer EMTs, paramedics and doctors who agree to be notified about medical emergencies that occur day and night in their home or work vicinity. If they can, they drop whatever they are doing and respond to the emergency, treating all patients free of charge. Levi is one of the organization’s 500 ambucycle drivers.
“This is very important work,” Levi said. “I don’t count the number of emergency calls that I respond to. Whenever I hear a call from the dispatch and command center about a medical emergency in my area, I go. I only recognized just how many people I helped recently when the organization called me and told me that I had broken the record for the month. I run my own business in the heart of Tel Aviv; that is how I can allow myself to respond to so many calls and save this many people.”
A few years ago, Levi was riding his motorcycle when a rainstorm sent him to seek shelter in a highway underpass. A United Hatzalah ambucycle driver also entered the underpass to wait out the downpour, and they began talking.
“He told me that he was an EMT with United Hatzalah and I asked him what the organization does and what it means to be a volunteer there. He explained that it is a volunteer organization whose goal is to provide first aid and emergency medical response in the first few critical moments before an ambulance can arrive. Whenever a medical emergency occurs, the dispatch center notifies the closest volunteer EMS personnel to the incident, all of whom are equipped with fully stocked advanced medical kits,” Levi related.
“Before we went our separate ways he gave me the emergency number of the organization, 1221. I called and within a month I began an EMT training course. After a six-month training course, and another few months of ride-along training calls, I began officially volunteering as an EMT and was able to respond to medical emergencies on my own. I am truly in love with this work, and it is my ‘other’ calling,” said Levi.
Eli Beer, president and founder of United Hatzalah, called Levi’s 236 incident responses selfless and heroic.
“It is because of volunteers such as Levi that our organization works as well as it does and provides expert medical care to those in need across the country in less than three minutes,” Beer said.