Hosted at Kibbutz Yagur near Haifa, volunteers from United Hatzalah from across Israel’s north gathered for a mass casualty incident (MCI) training drill, the organization said in a statement. The drill simulated a slew of rocket attacks alongside terrorist infiltration and firefights, devised in the aftermath of October 7th to train first responders on the opposite side of the country to be prepared for anything.
The drill brought together more than 200 EMTs, paramedics, and doctors from across northern Israel. Their efforts required the use of 20 regular ambulances, four intensive care ambulances, a command and control vehicle, multiple ATVs, and drones.
United Hatzalah also worked in conjunction with the Extreme Simulations company to create the most realistic situations possible. Among those simulations were mass shootings and direct rocket hits, complete with artificially generated smoke sounds of constant ambulance sirens in the background, mock rocket shrapnel as well as a bus with simulated bulletholes, fake body parts scattered around the different scenes and about 150 screaming teenagers with horrific moulage “injuries.”
Volunteers at the training did not have details of the simulated scenarios. They were ultimately directed to three separate scenes. United Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center received initial reports around 6:30 pm that included shooting sounds. The designated responder who arrived at the scene scanned the area and found two scenes of simulated rocket hits and one mass shooting in a bus, prompting the Dispatch and Command Center to declare the MCI protocol and call on all forces to make their way to the scene.
Simulation of various obstacles
The uncertainty also included concerns of bombs on the scene, cleared by sniffer dogs before proceeding. Two volunteers also were injured by gunfire in the exercise, all simulated for impact.
“Post October 7th, we understand the impact of United Hatzalah and saw how hundreds of volunteers treated thousands of people in the Gaza periphery under extreme conditions,” said Dovie Maisel, Vice President of Operations at United Hatzalah.
“Looking at the developing northern front we took the lessons learned from the South and did a regional exercise of all the northern branches. We simulated a coordinated attack of rockets and terrorist infiltration of a kibbutz, simulating over 150 victims, utilizing lessons we learned during October 7th from an operational standpoint, the volunteers exercised treating on-site and transport to the hospital.”
Naftali Rotenberg, Director of the Carmel region at United Hatzalah, stated, “With the assistance of branch leaders and our dedicated volunteers in the Carmel region, we successfully conducted this special exercise. Our continuous focus on various threats, routinely updated by security forces, ensures that our medical teams are trained and ready for any situation. I extend my gratitude to the Operations Division of United Hatzalah for their substantial efforts in making this important exercise a success.”