How Israel Prepares for Emergencies
March 2, 2018
EMS1.com – Dr. Oren Wacht, clinical instructor in BGU’s Department of Emergency Medicine, shares how Israel approaches community resiliency to save lives.
Considering Israel’s security situation, Dr. Wacht explains that the country has prepared its citizens for worst case scenarios by making bomb shelters mandatory in homes and apartment buildings, and providing regular drills and training for professionals and citizens on missile alarm protocols.
And the training works. Dr. Wacht shares an example of a bus that had been hit by a missile that exploded through the first 12 rows of seats and blew out the front windshield. It could have been a mass casualty incident, but instead resulted in zero deaths, because the bus driver followed protocols.
When he heard the alarm over the radio, he stopped the bus, opened all the doors and directed all the passengers, including children, to lay down on the ground outside the bus. These protocols saved everyone’s lives.
Israel’s EMS operations differ from the United States, Dr. Wacht explains. Israel has a centralized national EMS system, so every provider uses the same ambulances, equipment, training and computer system.
“It is easy to bring additional support in from outside areas when a large event occurs,” says Dr. Wacht. “The downside is any problem that occurs is system-wide.”