Volunteer medics with the United Hatzalah organization in Israel. (United Hatzalah) United Hatzalah

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The recent days-long rocket barrage underscored the urgency with which EMS volunteers in Israel’s southern region need to be protected.

By Raphael Poch, International Media Spokesperson, United Hatzalah

As rockets from Gaza once again rain down on Israeli civilians, United Hatzalah distributed specially designed protective tactical vests and helmets to its volunteer EMS personnel in the city of Sderot and the Gaza periphery. The EMS organization, which provides all of its services for free, distributed the protective gear to its volunteers throughout the region allowing them to more safely respond to medical emergencies during a time of rocket attacks as well as other dangerous situations.

“We have been working together with one of Israel’s leading companies to design specialized tactical gear that will protect our volunteers in times of violence and crisis,” said President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer.

Beer continued: “When responding to medical emergencies, the most important thing is the safety of the responder. Since the rocket escalation in the summer of 2019, we have sought a solution to protect our volunteers so that they will be safer and able to respond to medical emergencies during prolonged rocket barrages. This weekend, we finally were able to distribute the fruits of our labors to the volunteers in the region. The distribution came not a moment to soon as waves of rockets were launched at Israel on Sunday.”

The organization worked together with T9, a company that specializes in creating tactical solutions to both civilian and security personnel including first responders. After designing the specialized EMS response vests and helmets, the company supplied United Hatzalah with hundreds of sets that were purchased with money that was donated to the organization during various campaigns over the past year.

The tactical vests are lightweight, and appropriate for lengthy periods of use. They include specialized pouches built-in that are designed for carrying medical equipment that is unique to United Hatzalah’s first responders. The vests are ergonomic and allow for easy movement in all of the positions that are required of EMTs and paramedics including, sitting, standing, lying down, and kneeling, to allow for proper treatment of the patient. The vests are designed for men and women and assigned to volunteers accordingly.

CEO of T9 Liran Cohen said: “We were inspired by the knowledge that these people are saving lives of Israeli citizens daily, but they do not have proper protective gear. Today, in the entire field of civilian emergency medicine there is no operational answer to protecting caregivers in times of attack, even though the circumstances in which the volunteer responders are called upon to treat injured or sick people are similar to those in which elite military medics are used.”

Cohen added, “The new vests and helmets will allow for civilian EMTs and paramedics to wear the proper protective equipment to ensure the best chance for their survival, and the most comfort, so that they can provide expert medical care even under the duress of rocket attacks or other instances of violent nature. This is a groundbreaking step in patient care and will allow United Hatzalah’s volunteers to do their work with the highest level of care and safety possible so that they can save more lives.”

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