Magen David Adom is helping save lives, not just in Israel, but around the world — almost everywhere there is a local Hatzalah ambulance team.
That’s because Magen David Adom conducts ongoing training and shares its best practices with Hatzalah organizations on almost every continent. In fact, this week, MDA began a four-day international conference of Hatzalah organizations, the first international gathering of its kind, during which EMTs from U.S., Canada, Britain, Australia, Argentina, and South Africa are training with Israel’s world-renown MDA paramedics.
Hatzalah organizations (Hatzalah is the Hebrew for “rescue”) were first formed in the late 1960s in New York and are now found in Jewish communities around the world. While they originally were formed to serve Jewish communities, they serve all people in need of emergency medical care.
“We’re working to train EMTs and paramedics in Jewish communities around the world in Magen David Adom’s protocols and standards of care, which are some of the most advanced in the world” said Eli Bin, MDA’s director-general.
“This unique and special conference, which was organized in collaboration with Hatzalah New York, opens the doors for emergency medical providers around the world to learn from MDA’s vast experience in saving lives and learn from the unique challenges MDA has learned to cope with over the years,” he said.
The more than 150 Hatzalah EMTs and paramedics are taking part in live-action drills, which are designed to teach participants how to manage complex medical emergencies, including conventional mass-casualty incidents, terror attacks, and motor-vehicle collisions. In addition to its relationship with Hatzalah organizations outside Israel, Magen David Adom also trains and equips 16 of the 17 Hatzalah organizations in Israel and dispatches every first responder in the country.
“This conference is the utmost importance to both organizations,” said Yitzchak Stern, the president of Chevra Hatzalah of New York. “It’s a true testament to the partnership between the organizations, which work together to save lives.”
Magen David Adom is Israel’s national ambulance, blood-services, and disaster-relief organization, serving as emergency medical first-responders for the state’s 8.8 million people. American Friends of Magen David Adom is the largest supporter of MDA around the world and is a 501 (c)(3) organization.