Home Front Command carries out joint exercise for emergency situations with Magen David Adom and the Shaare Tzedek Medical Center

Date: 14/10/2009, 12:26 PM     Author: Nadav Deutscher

Three missiles with CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) heads are hitting in the Bayit VeGan neighborhood in Jerusalem one after another. Hundreds of people are injured by the chemical substance, dozens of Magen David Adom and Home Front Command ambulances rush in to collect the victims and transfer them to the large site that has been prepared by the Shaare Tzedek Medical Center. Everything is – of course – an exercise.

The members of the Home Front Command Military Unit in Hospitals (MUH) were not surprised at all by the missile. They have been in alert for a week, and here comes the moment of truth. Within minutes they are spreading out over the hospital area to receive the wounded. But before the wounded can enter the hospital, the unit completely clears their bodies of the chemical substances that have touched them. After the wounded are administered to different departments according to the degree of their injuries, the MUH covers their bodies with a talc based powder which will absorb the chemical substances. In the end they rinse the wounded and then taken to the relevant departments in the hospital.

The Shaare Tzedek Medical Center has the capacity to treat a few hundred individuals in emergency situations, and the 200 wounded that have arrived now almost completely fill all the departments of the hospital. And still, less than two hours after the first wounded entered the hospital, the last wounded leaves the purification area at the entrance of the hospital, and the decisive state of the emergency treatment is completed successfully.

Luckily, as fantastic as it was, this was, as aforementioned, only part of an exercise that the Home Front Command ran together with Magen David Adom and the Shaare Tzedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, and not a real emergency. Over 100 MUH soldiers took part in the exercise, which simulated the hitting of CBRN missiles, the purification of the victims and their evacuation to the hospital. The great success of the exercise and the good participation of the Home Front Command in general and the MUH in particular, serves to reassure the relevant bodies of the preparedness for emergency situations of this kind.

The Shaare Tzedek staff was very satisfied with the cooperation with the Home Front Command, both during the exercise and in their daily work. “Everyone takes it all seriously, and therefore it looks really good and works exceptionally well,” explained the generak director of the hospital, Prof. Jonathan Halevi, and added: “After this exercise, during which we simulated a reality, I am sure of
the readiness of the hospital for an emergency situation.”

“I am very satisfied,” declared Col. Yoram Lev-Ran, Commander of the Home Front Command Jerusalem District. “The civilian and military medical staff cooperated very well during the exercise. The system treating civilians in this kind of situations isn’t natural, it’s made up of a lot of bodies and organizations. We work on connecting them as well as possible, and I think that this sends a strong message to the Israeli public.”

The Chief of the Home Front Command Medical Department, Col. Dr. Ariel Bar, is even more firm: “After watching the exercise, I can say that I am very satisfied. I trust the members of the unit completely, and I feel that I can sleep like a baby at night.” Dr. Bar added that during this exercise, a computerized system that allows the directing and monitoring of the emergency patients was used for the first time. “On first impression, the system worked very well, and it will probably be used during exercises and actual emergency situations in the future,” he concluded.

In the following months, the Home Front Command will continue to carry out exercises with hospitals throughout the country, in order to practice and improve the preparedness for emergency situations.