Search & Rescue Unit in Civilian Life

“Activity with injured people demands dealing with your mind, beyond technique”


Search & Rescue Unit in Civilian Life

The Building was Filled with Equipmrnt Search & Rescue Unit in Civilian Life

Rescuing Together for more than a Decade Search & Rescue Unit in Civilian Life

Learning to Rescue from Above Noam and Haran were drafted on the same day to the 669 Search & Rescue unit, and haven’t been apart since. Even after handing in their uniforms, the two have continued to rescue in civilian life

May Efrat | Yonatan Zalk

You might expect a meeting with a rescue instructor to take place in an unexpected location, like a cliff in the midst of nature or next to a deep ditch, but the actual location chosen was not as green as we imagined. We met Master Sergeant (Res.) Noam, a graduate of the combat 669 Search & Rescue unit, at an abandoned building in central Tel Aviv. The building was filled with graffiti and dozens of ropes, helmets and, more notably, firefighters, who came to learn how to rescue from great heights and closed spaces.

Now, the firefighters’ eyes focus on Noam, who dangles breezily outside the balcony. He will demonstrate rescuing from above together with Captain (Res.) Haran, his good friend who instructs alongside him at the “Rescue One” company. Aside from the same job, the two also share a long history: the same drafting date and service at the IAF’s Search & Rescue Unit. “One of the main reasons that I started and continued in the rescue business is the people who were with me along the way”, explains Noam. Haran, who was a crew commander at 669, also indicates that the soldiers under his command in the military are still present in his civilian life. “It’s not weird, it’s just for the best”, he smiles. “I have good friends who were my soldiers, and today they’re the ones who take the lead”.

Independent in the Field

In their current roles, Noam and Haran provide rescue training to big companies and private organizations, and concurrently take part in a rescue crew that assists hikers who find themselves in trouble around the world. “You’re not in the office all day, but find yourself in places that you normally wouldn’t”, explains Noam. “Activity with injured people in nerve-wracking situations demands dealing with it in your mind, beyond technique. My experiences in the army help me in my job today”.

“My love for the field actually comes from an interest in education, I left the military with a calling”, says Haran. “In the beginning I would begin courses with the mindset of military training and discipline, but here you need to go beyond that. It’s not a job with soldiers who have to do as they’re told. You need to speak to their logical side, find the motivation in them, it’s a much greater challenge”, he says. “It’s hugely satisfying to take a group with zero knowledge in the field and see them become independent outdoors within two or three weeks”. Noam nods in agreement: “It’s already happened that a short time after training a crew it found itself in a real situation and is able to rescue injured people. I felt a part of that. The satisfaction is very great, almost like I was there myself”.