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Magen David Adom Launches “Life Guardian Program” to Bolster Existing Emergency Response Services

Posted By : Erik Levis January 28, 2016
MDA app

The new MDA app will enable any Israeli civilian, provided they have the necessary training, to respond to an emergency.

When Yehuda, a 56-year-old father, went into cardiac arrest at his home, EMTs and paramedics from Magen David Adom, Israel’s national EMS organization, converged on his apartment in Jerusalem’s Har Nof neighborhood.

Four medics arrived with ambulances dispatched from MDA’s Bloomberg Emergency Medical Station in the city. But the earliest arrivals to the scene were first-responders who came by Medicycle and their own private vehicles after being identified automatically by MDA’s Command and Control Center in Kiryat Ono as the nearest EMTs. This automated protocol is all part of a first-responder program MDA has had for decades to speed the aid given to patients by dispatching on-call medics from their home or office.

Now Magen David Adom is taking its already robust first-responder program to the next level, adding another layer of responders to the equation by training or recertifying everyday Israeli citizens, people who learned CPR in the army or as part of their teacher certification, or who are learning first-aid basics for the first time.

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The new Life Guardian Program will activate tens of thousands of civilians across Israel in a community-like effort to save lives.

“This will literally add tens of thousands of first-responders to the cadre of as many as 2,000 EMTs and paramedics who are on-call at any moment from their homes or offices,” said Eli Bin, MDA’s director-general. “Now, there’s an even greater possibility that the nearest first-responder won’t just be down the street, but potentially just downstairs or right next door, an important consideration given the raise of terrorism and the potential for something even more dire in the months or years to come.”

Under the Life Guardian Program, as MDA is calling it, participants will receive 20 hours of training in basics such as how to properly give chest compressions and use a defibrillator for cardiac-arrest patients or how to stanch bleeding for victims of accidents and terrorism. It’s enough know-how, MDA says, to start lifesaving measures until first-responder EMTs or paramedics — or one of MDA’s more than 1,000 ambulances — arrive minutes or even seconds later.

By comparison, MDA volunteer EMTs receive a minimum of 88 hours of training, 400 hours of training for senior EMTs (EMT-I), and up to 3,500 hours of training for MDA paramedics with four-year bachelor degrees in emergency medicine.

“The program isn’t designed to replace the more than 13,000 volunteer EMTs or the more than 1,800 full-time professionals we have,” Bin said. “But it can shave invaluable seconds or minutes off the time it takes for a critically injured or ill patient to first receive potentially lifesaving treatment by putting tens of thousands more first-responders into the mix. And this greatly reinforces our goal of saving as many lives as humanly possible.”

In just the first 24 hours after the program was announced by MDA, more than 3,000 Israelis registered for it.

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