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MDA becomes sole dispatcher for all first responders in Israel

Posted By : Matt Sloan January 22, 2019

Kiryat Ono, Israel (January 14, 2019) — Magen David Adom is now dispatching all emergency medical first responders in Israel, regardless of which EMS organization they’re affiliated with, bringing to fruition a 2014 ruling by the country’s Ministry of Health calling for all first responders to be dispatched to emergency scenes by MDA as part of its role as the national EMS organization.

The implementation of the ruling, which took effect January 7, means that all first responders, including those from United Hatzalah, the only organization not previously dispatched by MDA, are now being dispatched by MDA. As a result, about 1,800 United Hatzalah first responders have joined the more than 6,500 first responders from Magen David Adom — including the 16 other local Hatzalah organizations affiliated with MDA — in being called to the scenes of medical emergencies.

The first-responder dispatching system is designed to locate and dispatch the five closest EMTs, paramedics, or other first-aid providers, and quickly get them to the scenes of medical emergencies, arriving several minutes ahead of ambulances.

Ultimately, EMTs and paramedics based on ambulances and Mobile Intensive Care Units provide the most critical treatment to patients and transport them to the hospital for ongoing care. However, first responders can play a crucial role in providing preliminary care, which can be particularly important in life-threatening situations. In Israel, first responders arrive to medical emergencies onmotorcycles or with their private cars.

Under Magen David Adom’s technology, developed in-house, when someone calls 1-0-1, the national medical emergency phone number, and alerts MDA about a life-threatening medical situation, MDA’s Command and Control System automatically assigns the five closest first responders, regardless of their affiliation. The location of the first responders is determined instantly through the system’s geolocation capabilities (GIS-GPS). Simultaneously, an MDA ambulance is dispatched to the scene.

In Israel, first responders typically arrive in less than five minutes, while ambulances arrive in about eight minutes. MDA also deploys Life Guardians, about 17,000 CPR-certified civilians, many of them off-duty doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals, who are notified if there’s a critical medical emergency in their immediate vicinity, enabling them to initiate CPR, if necessary, before first responders even arrive.

With the move to create a single first-respondernational dispatch center, all Israeli first responders will now be dispatched by Magen David Adom. This is in addition to the 25,000 MDA EMTs — including 350 paramedics, the most highly trained EMTs — who respond to medical emergencies, stabilize patients, and transport them to hospitals via one of MDA’s 1,100 ambulances and Mobile Intensive Care Units.

“With the implementation of this ministry ruling, Israelis only need to call Magen David Adom’s emergency dispatch number, 1-0-1, to be assured that the nearest first responders will get to the scene quickly,” said Eli Bin, Magen David Adom’s director-general. “The move will also eliminate the chaos that sometimes ensued previously when first responders from multiple organizations would converge on a scene, creating a glut of first responders while providing absolutely no additional benefit to the patient.

“With this unified structure, the Israeli public’s emergency medical needs will be better served and potentially even more lives saved,” he said.

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