They operate around the clock to ensure the safety of civilians and soldiers alike, and were a central factor in the defense of the Home Front during Operation Protective Edge. From organizing hospitals to the evacuation of injured by helicopters, the National Medical Command Center was an integral part of saving lives.
The National Medical Command Center (NMCC) operates 24/7 and is always prepared to react to emergency situations. The center treats soldiers as well as non-military related injuries and is staffed by officers who are responsible for quickly responding to any event in the Home Front, including non-conventional combat such as chemical, atomic or biological warfare.
During Operation Protective Edge, Hamas and other terror organizations in Gaza fired about 4,500 rockets towards Israel, endangering millions of Israeli soldiers and civilians. In the beginning of the operation, the medical teams were only prepared to respond in southern Israel, but after Hamas fired its long range rockets, they expanded to the Tel Aviv Metropolitan area, Haifa and northern Israel.
The non-military related injuries such as trauma and victims of car accidents were given full attention during emergency situations. “This created a heavy workload in the military hospitals,” explained Maj. Efrat Maman, a Medical Operations Officer in the Home Front Command. In order to deal with the overload, the Home Front Command coordinated with other organizations. “We see the broad picture. We build connections with other entities operating in the area, in order to create a collaborative network that directs the wounded and saves lives,” said Maj. Maman.
The medical command center is responsible for accurately documenting the case of every injured person. “From the moment that there are reports of injuries during combat, we immediately get all of the details,” said Maj. Maman. “From the moment the helicopter is in the air, we provide detailed updates about the incident, the injury and the necessary medical aid.”
“Unfortunately, this operation saw a large number of casualties. At one point, there were 7-8 helicopters in the air and we needed to direct and coordinate them to locations for treatment,” explained Maj. Mamen.
The NMCC played a fundamental role during Operation Protective Edge and frequently the decision of where to evacuate an injured person could be the deciding factor between life and death. Col. Ayal Foreman, commander of the NMCC, asserts that every decision the center makes saves lives. “I can remember a lot of incidents in which we insisted on evacuating soldiers to a closer hospital,” Col. Foreman recounts. “I can say for sure that this decision saved lives.”