ESRAmagazine

Israeli Search and Rescue Volunteers

198-hurricane Megilot Search and Rescue team in action.
Volunteer Mark Simon

ESRA Modiin hosted two speakers who have each volunteered for search and rescue organizations. They both gave insights to what is involved and the amount of work that is done for people who find themselves in vulnerable situations, often through no fault of their own. Mark Simon has wide experience in rescue and paramedic services and spoke about his volunteering for the Megilot Search and Rescue team, which covers the north Dead Sea area of 308 square miles of mostly cliffs, beaches and canyons, with some dangerously concealed sink holes.

Various teams specialize in different functions that contribute to search and rescue. The public is simply not aware of the special skills involved in search and rescue, such as detection teams who search for lost people, together with the drone teams whose technical expertise can cover a large area. Once the missing person or people are found, the paramedics and doctors provide treatment before evacuating them. There is a specialist team for all marine activity in the Dead Sea. A new psycho trauma and crisis response team works to help victims and others who have experienced an emergency rescue.

Simon explained about the dangers to hikers, especially when it rains, how the team constantly trains to be ready for any emergency, and how the training is put into practice with the equipment available.

Joe Serkin has worked in the Police and Fire Services, and is now working in a hi-tech field for first response communication and medical equipment. He was recently sent by the IsraAid organization to help the communities that lost their homes in the recent hurricane that caused havoc in North Carolina. IsraAid works outside of Israel and has an excellent reputation for getting things done that we Israelis should all be proud of. Joe told us that it was constantly on his mind to live up to the reputation, and one of the principles is to never say 'no' to a request.

In North Carolina, a great many homes had been badly damaged, together with the furniture and appliances. The volunteers had various jobs to do, mainly with the purpose of removing everything but the outer shell of buildings that could be restored.

He found himself in a situation where he could communicate in both Hebrew and English to the Israelis and the American volunteer agencies, and there is talk of bringing Americans here to Israel to learn how Israelis react so rapidly to any disaster around the world.

Something indeed to be proud of. 

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Thursday, 26 November 2020

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