Rescue organizations and security forces practice for emergency situation in Jerusalem and its surrounding areas

Date: 22/07/2009, 10:44 PM     Author: Arnon Ben-Dror

On Wednesday (July 22), the city of Jerusalem was at the focal point of activities carried out by Security Forces and rescue organizations, who sought to prepare the area for missile attacks and other potentially dangerous situations during the biggest exercise of its kind in the area that has ever taken place. All organizations that provide emergency aid for the home front participated in the exercises, and the Jerusalem district of the Home Front Command, which did not take an active part in the Turning Point 3 exercise, trained their soldiers in compulsory and reserve service to deal with a variety of different scenarios.

The largest exercise took place in the parking lot of Teddy Stadium, simulating the detonation of two explosive devices in a crowded area. Medical students from the Hebrew University treated the wounded and evacuated them to ambulances with the help of the Israel Police and other rescue organizations. They did not act alone – the Airborne Rescue and Evacuation Unit of the IAF (669) landed at the scene three times, evacuated severely wounded and took the “terrorist” into a helicopter.

“We are fully cooperating with the Security Forces, and the cooperation with the IDF (Zahal) is exceptional,” explains the manager of the exercise, Prof. Avi Rivkind, who established the first trauma unit in Israel, and today is the Head of the General Surgery Department and the Trauma Unit at Hadassah Medical Center. “The exercise was a big success,” he concludes. The Deputy Minister of Health, MK Yaakov Litzman, also visited the scene and conveyed his satisfaction of the forces’ conduct. The manager of the Hadassah Medical Center, Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yossef, watched the entire exercise: “The cooperation with the Security Forces strengthens all the time, and joint exercises like this one increase our readiness for emergency situations.”

“It was both important and challenging,” says Tali, a medical student in her sixth year who finished the trauma course as part of her studies yesterday. “Even though it was a little bit stressful, we managed to implement everything we had studied during the course.”

At the same time, on the other side of Jerusalem, the Jerusalem district of the Home Front Command carried out a comprehensive exercise simulating the hitting of a populated building by a missile, and the collapse of the building. The Home Front Command exploded the building after placing dolls inside of it, and the Command soldiers – in compulsory and reserve service – had to rescue the “wounded” and the “casualties” from the ruins through different means. Also part of the exercise were the Israel Police, the fire brigades, Magen David Adom and the Jerusalem municipality.

Additional exercises were held on Wednesday in the area of Bet Shemesh, and on Thursday the forces will continue to practice different scenarios, during one of which people will be rescued from the student dormitories at Mount Scopus. In additional to that, several air raid siren drills took place on Wednesday morning in the communities neighboring Jerusalem.