MDA Trained New York-Based Paramedics in Unique Program Designed to Benefit New York and Israel

Posted By : Devick Sellam April 30, 2018

MDA’s Aaron Adler (at right) presents an award to one of more than a dozen NY-based Hatzalah EMS volunteers.

Paramedics from New York-based Hatzalah volunteer EMS organizations received high-level training last week from Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel’s national EMS organization, in a new program designed to increase New York-based paramedics’ skills while providing them with the necessary accreditation to work in Israel.

Officials from MDA and the Hatzalah organizations say the training is beneficial to both groups.

“It will provide Hatzalah paramedics with the chance to learn the innovative protocols developed by MDA in its groundbreaking work responding to terrorism and other mass-casualty incidents,” said Eli Rowe, paramedic supervisor of Queens Hatzolah and the regional coordinator for area Hatzalah organizations.

But Hatzalah and MDA officials say it is equally important that the program will provide Hatzalah paramedics with the training they need to become accredited to work in Israel as volunteers in the event of war or a natural disaster, such as an earthquake.

“For MDA, it’s a great opportunity to share what we’ve learned responding to years of terror attacks and to give back to the New York community, which has been so supportive of us in terms of sponsoring ambulances and providing millions of dollars worth of philanthropic funds to purchase medical equipment and supplies,” said Aaron Adler, a Magen David Adom paramedic instructor who’s leading the training session. “But this program also enables us to put additional paramedics to work in Israel in case there’s another war, like the one we had most recently in 2014, or an earthquake.”

In addition to the more than a week of training in New York, the participating paramedics will later fly to Israel to undergo 100 hours of training in the field there with MDA.

The Hatzalah organizations (the name means rescue in Hebrew) are a coalition of 16 volunteer ambulance services run by the Jewish community throughout New York City. They were founded to supplement EMS services operated by the city and local hospitals, reduce response time, and mitigate cultural concerns regarding treatment within the Orthodox Jewish community. Together, the city’s Hatzalah organizations, coordinated by Chevra Hatzalah (Central Hatzalah) have more than 1,000 volunteer EMTs and paramedics and more than 90 ambulances, making it the largest volunteer EMS organization in the United States.

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