Ambulance Volunteers Get Vital Boost To Save Lives

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Volunteers who respond to life-threatening emergencies for London Ambulance Service have been given three new response cars to help save lives in the capital.

The Freemasons have donated the high spec Volkswagen Tiguan vehicles — each worth around £40,000 — to the charity that trains volunteers to support London Ambulance Service in its work.

These ‘Emergency Responders’ must pass a rigorous application and assessment process before six days of intensive training where they learn life-saving skills. After successfully completing the training, these volunteers respond to 999 calls in response cars on blue lights.

Volkswagon Tiguans, donated by The Freemasons

Athar Khan, Director of Integrated Patient Care at London Ambulance Service, said: “Our highly trained volunteers play a vital role supporting the work of London Ambulance Service’s medics in the capital.’

“These new cars will mean more lives in London are saved. Acts of kindness like this keep our Emergency Responders out on the road answering 999 calls, and I would like to thank the Freemasons for their generous gift.”

Sir Michael Snyder, Metropolitan Grand Master, added: “I am delighted, on behalf of all London Freemasons, to present these three fast response cars for use by the voluntary emergency responders within the London Ambulance Service, to further complement the five cars that London Freemasons generously donated just a couple of years ago.’

“The work of the London Ambulance Service is inspirational in their relentless efforts in assisting all those Londoners in time of need.’

“This role is only achieved by the huge commitment given by the many volunteers from various different walks of life, and I have the utmost respect for their dedicated service across the capital.”

The London Ambulance Service Voluntary Responder Group charity funds the Emergency Responder scheme.

In 2019, these dedicated volunteers gave close to 25,000 hours of their own time attending 8,272 emergency calls.

Of these emergency calls, an ER team was on scene first in almost 6,000 cases. They provide a valuable additional resource in helping London Ambulance in treating more than 1.1m patients a year.

Tim Kirkby has been an Emergency Responder for nearly nine years. He said: “I do a 9 to 5 desk job so I initially started volunteering so I could get out, meet people and make a difference.’

“And most of the time, we really do. I’m usually the first medic on scene and that can often make the difference for the patient: giving early defibrillation can save a life.”

At any time, London Ambulance Service has up to eight Emergency Responder crews on the road. There are currently nearly 150 Emergency Responders on the team but the service is hoping to double that number.

WMAS Scoops Award For It’s Support To The Armed Forces

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West Midlands Ambulance Service has scooped an award for the work it does to encourage members of the Armed Forces to come and work within the NHS.

The Step into Health Awards 2020 took place on Tuesday 10th March in Central London and celebrated the work of employers that are pledged to support Step into Health. 

The programme recognises that veterans and people leaving the Armed Forces have transferable skills and the commitment that matches many roles within the ambulance service and wider NHS.

The awards also recognise the successes of former armed services personnel who have been through the programme and are now employed in the NHS.

As an ambulance service, the Trust actively supports reservists so that they can continue their military role while also working within the NHS.

The Trust’s Director of Workforce and Organisational Development, Kim Nurse, scooped the ‘NHS Advocate for Step into Health’ award jointly with another shortlisted candidate.

The award recognised her determination to drive forward engagement at a local level, her influence to change behaviour within WMAS and for her dedicated support to members of the Armed forces community.

Kim, who attended the event with HR Manager Maria Watson and Military Champions Carl Pockett, Tim Atherton and Kelly Carr, had the privilege of being hosted by His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge for a private reception at Kensington Palace ahead of the award ceremony.

Talking about her award, Kim said: “Staff who have previously worked in the armed forces are often ideally suited to roles within the ambulance service.’

“Many say that the ambulance service has the same feel and camaraderie that they so enjoyed while serving their country.  They see that they can continue to make a tremendous impact within the communities that we serve.’

“It was an honour and a privilege to represent WMAS and showcase nationally all the excellent work and commitment given by our staff at this Step into Health Awards.’

“The Duke of Cambridge was interested to hear about the range of support we provide to encourage new military joiners and how our staff, who are undertaking reservist roles are provided with assistance.’

“It is clear there is a real synergy of public duty values between those in the NHS and MOD and I am proud to have played a part in promoting our organisations career opportunities to such as wide audience.”

The Duke Of Cambridge Becomes Patron Of London’s Air Ambulance Charity

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The Duke of Cambridge has today become Patron of London’s Air Ambulance Charity.

The charity funds London’s Air Ambulance to bring the hospital to the scene, delivering cutting-edge medical care when every second counts.

Last year, The Duke was Patron of the charity’s 30th anniversary campaign, during which he flew with the crew and met staff and patients from the service.

Through this experience and his own work as an air ambulance pilot, The Duke has seen first-hand the impact of rapid response treatment for the most critically ill patients.

London’s Air Ambulance has a world class reputation for delivering pioneering treatment at the roadside, delivering urgent care to the 10 million people who live and work in London.

Ex-Air Ambulance Pilot The Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, with staff from London’s Air Ambulance Charity

Primarily funded by donations made to London’s Air Ambulance Charity, the service is also supported by Barts Health NHS Trust and the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

Barts Health NHS Trust provides the doctors, some financial support and the helipad facilities at the Royal London Hospital.

The London Ambulance Service NHS Trust provides the paramedics and the emergency infrastructure to dispatch the service 24 hours a day.

Thanks to The Duke’s support in 2019 at events including the charity’s 30thAnniversary Dinner and the Kings Cup Sailing Regatta, London’s Air Ambulance Charity was able to boost awareness efforts and reach several key milestones in its 30th anniversary campaign.

This included securing £1.4 million funding to develop new training and wellbeing facilities for the London’s Air Ambulance crews.

London’s Air Ambulance was founded in 1989 and has treated over 40,000 critically injured people to date. Crews have attended most major incidents in London including 7/7, the Grenfell Tower fire and recent London Bridge terror incident.

In 2019, the helicopter and rapid response cars took an advanced trauma doctor and paramedic to 1,730 patients whose lives were on the line, at a cost of £2,080* to make each mission happen.

Jonathan Jenkins, CEO of London’s Air Ambulance Charity, said: “We are honoured that The Duke of Cambridge has chosen to become Patron of London’s Air Ambulance Charity after getting to know us last year.’

“The Duke truly understands our work and knows that every second counts in an emergency.’

“We know that with his help, as well as the continued support of the public, our crews can reach those who need them most — serving the people of London 24 hours a day, every day of the year.”

Medical Director Dr Tom Hurst said: “We are grateful to The Duke of Cambridge for backing us on our mission to save more lives in London.’

“Critical injury from road traffic incidents, falls from height, assaults and other injuries are the biggest killer of people aged under 40, however our advanced trauma doctor and paramedic teams are dedicated to saving patients whilst developing the potential of pre-hospital emergency medicine.”

For more information on London’s Air Ambulance Charity, and to join on its mission to save more lives visit: www.londonsairambulance.org.uk.

Success for Welsh Ambulance Service’s Defibuary Campaign

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A record number of people got involved in the Welsh Ambulance Service’s annual #Defibuary campaign on Twitter.

Launched in January by Gavin & Stacey actress Melanie Walters, the online drive aimed to highlight the locations of as many life-saving public access defibrillators across Wales as possible.

Keen spotters took to the streets and hills of Wales to get creative with their selfies and snaps of these vital apparatus, leaving location details to ensure the national database is up to date.

PC Parry in Capel Curig, North Wales with the PAD at the Joe Browns store in the Snowdonia village

There are more than 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests each year in the UK and a person’s chance of surviving will decrease by 10% every minute without good quality CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and early defibrillation.

Heading up the campaign was Fiona Maclean, of the Trust’s Patient Engagement and Community Involvement Team, who said: “It’s been a brilliant campaign and we had 181 submissions from all across Wales and more people than ever got involved.

Jonathan Hooper of Tonyrefail, Rhondda points the way to the defib at his fitness club

“We wish to thank everybody who took the time to get involved and especially Melanie Walters for her involvement.”

This year, many businesses dug deep and donated prizes to be given to the best entries – everything from visiting the Royal Mint to a Snowdonia Highland Railway trip.

The Welsh Ambulance Service donated two defibrillators as the top prizes.

The first was won by Coed Eva Primary School in Cwmbran who will site it at the school, with the second going to Dionne Hilderbrandt from Kinmel Bay, who will place hers at a local gym.

Patient thanks the ambulance crew who saved his life

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“I’ll be eternally grateful,” said a Hull grandad when he was reunited with the Yorkshire Ambulance Service team who saved his life.

In January, Rob Thomas was walking to his home in West Hull when he felt unwell. The next thing he remembers is waking up in hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Fortunately when he collapsed, midwife Jess Westcott was passing and started administering CPR. Off-duty Sutton Fields paramedic Ben Mays also happened to be driving past and stopped to help with the life-saving attempt.

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Ben said: “I was at the traffic lights and saw someone performing CPR so I pulled over and went to help. Rob had no pulse and wasn’t breathing so we continued CPR until my colleagues arrived.”

Paul Cooke and Charlotte Smith, based at Sutton Fields Ambulance Station, were first on scene, followed by Flossy Roberts-Graham and Corinna Page, based at Brough, and Hull West Red Arrest Team paramedic Steve Dawber.

Seventy-four-year-old Rob said it was a blessing in disguise he collapsed where he did, as if it had happened at home, his wife, who has MS, would have been unable to help him.

“I just can’t tell you enough how fantastic these people are,” said Rob, who visited Hull West Ambulance Station to be reunited with some of his life-savers on 10 March. “I’ll be eternally grateful to everyone, from the off-duty midwife and paramedic who stopped initially, to the ambulance crews and the staff at Castle Hill Hospital, everyone has been marvellous, I can’t speak highly enough of them.”

Steve Dawber said: “The fact that the off-duty midwife and Ben were there so quickly to start CPR gave Rob the best possible chance of survival, but you don’t have to be a healthcare professional to help, CPR is something that anyone can learn. If someone collapses in cardiac arrest, they have a one in ten chance of surviving. If they get immediate CPR and defibrillation, their chances can triple.”

Rob was discharged after undergoing a triple heart bypass at Castle Hill Hospital in Cottingham. He is now convalescing with his daughter and son-in-law and is recovering well.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service provides free CPR training to around 45,000 students at secondary schools on Restart a Heart Day every year. Secondary schools have until 3 April to sign up to be part the event on Friday 16 October 2020. To register your school, visit www.restartaheart.yas.nhs.uk

Guardians of Gaza: The Humanitarian Efforts of the PRCS Volunteers

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An Interview with Israa Azzam, Palestine Red Crescent Society Volunteer

By Joseph Heneghan,
in conversation with
Israa Azzam (pictured),
Volunteer Paramedic with the Palestine Red Crescent Society.
Published in Ambulance Today,
Issue 1, Volume 16,
Spring 2020: Global Warning and the Burning Issues at the Core of Prehospital Trauma Care

Following on from the introductory interview we did with the PRCS in our last edition of Ambulance Today, which was specifically dedicated to voluntary EMS around the globe, we are happy to present the second interview which we also undertook with Israa Azzam.

Israa is a voluntary EMT based in Gaza and it is our hope that the two interviews offer an accurate understanding of EMS in Palestine when put together and compared.

Joe Heneghan: Israa, at what point in your life did you personally decide to become a paramedic in the first place? What led you to make this decision?

Israa Azzam: I am passionate about serving my community and providing humanitarian services to those in need.

This passion drove me to volunteer as an emergency medical technician (EMT).

The PRCS offered me the opportunity to take part in a First Responder course which I joined in order to be better prepared to face Israel’s continuous attacks on the Gaza Strip and because we need EMTs to be ready to operate at all times.

My first assignment was during the March of Return protests along Gaza’s borders in 2018.

The PRCS is a widely accepted and well-known organisation.

It allows both men and women to join its ranks as volunteers, and endeavours to ensure a rapid response to emergencies. All that plus my desire to assist other people is what drew me to the PRCS in the first place.

J.H: Whilst you mention that PRCS take both male and female volunteers, what has your experience been as a woman working in EMS in Palestine?

Israa: I noticed a huge change on the personal level. The First Responder training course made me more capable of taking decisions and helped me develop a strong personality.

Through it, I gained experience relating to First Aid and assisting the sick and wounded. It also encouraged me to pursue an emergency and disaster response degree.

My family did not object to the path I chose. On the contrary, my relatives stand by me and encourage me to persevere as an EMT in order to assist fellow Palestinians.

Female PRCS volunteer with young patient.
This image featured as the front page in Ambulance Today’s Winter 2019 edition.

J.H: So, how long have you served with the PRCS? What route has your time with the PRCS taken?

Israa: I started serving with the PRCS in 2016, so for about four years.

I was preparing a Master’s degree in Disaster and Crises Management at the Islamic University when I joined the PRCS as a volunteer.

I took part in a First Responder course offered by PRCS in which I learned how to deal with injuries and bleeding as well as how to provide First Aid and mitigate risks.

I can now respond to all types of emergencies. I have already taken part in response efforts during the March of Return protests and during the latest escalation in the Gaza Strip in November 2019.

J.H: And how would you describe working as a volunteer for the PRCS during that time? How does it feel, what do you personally get out of it?

Israa: Despite the difficulties and risks I face as an EMT, especially in times of war, working with the PRCS is a great experience.

We work as one team and I feel that all EMTs are part of the same family. This great working environment makes me feel happy and helps me accomplish tasks with more ease.

Working as an EMT helped build my esteem and made me feel accomplished. It also boosted my community engagement and my desire to provide humanitarian services.

PRCS volunteers assisting patient at a medical post

J.H: And what would you say are perhaps the biggest barriers to you delivering emergency care on a day to day basis then?

Israa: The PRCS is a National Society that aspires to provide humanitarian services to all those in need.

It respects the fundamental principles of the International Movement including neutrality, impartiality, humanity and universality.

Although International Humanitarian Law calls for the respect of medics at all times, there are constant violations committed by Israeli occupation forces against our medical mission, including the non- respect of the Red Crescent emblem.

For example, tear gas was fired at me in the line of duty and a tear gas canister was directly fired at the ambulance I was in while covering the March on Return protests.

J.H: That is indeed a great difficulty to face and opens the need for further international discussion on so many levels.

Whilst recognising the severity of such occurrences, the complexities of such a discussion are genuinely far too myriad to delve into here.

However, I must ask: what keeps you going in the face of that type of personal danger?

Israa: What makes me continue despite all barriers is the happiness I see on the faces of the people I help.

PRCS volunteers transporting patient

J.H: There is, as they say, beauty in simplicity. Moving on, what is it like to work in the Gaza Strip? How are you received by members of your community, especially when in uniform?

Israa: Members of my community treat me with respect, trust and appreciation. They fully understand that I represent a National Society that provides them with humanitarian services.

They trust the PRCS and respect its uniform and emblem. They also know that they can turn to the PRCS and seek its help during emergencies.

J.H: Such deserved recognition must justifiably serve as a source of some pride. Simple recognition, support and thanks from a community go a long way in EMS.

Speaking of pride, what are you proudest of when you come home after a day of serving people in emergencies, offering them treatment and comfort?

PRCS attend to a wounded patient

Israa: I am proud to be an EMT and to help others during emergencies. It is an honour for me to be a volunteer first responder with the PRCS.

When I return home after my shift ends, I start remembering all the events of the day, including the sad ones, and I try to cope with the sadness in order to continue providing assistance to those who need it.

One of the most difficult moments for me was when I received a call as I was tending a casualty during the March of Return protests informing me that my brother was shot in the foot.

Another difficult moment was when I learned that the wounded person I had treated earlier at one of the PRCS’ medical posts had died at hospital.

Then I learned that he was the brother of a colleague who was also tending the wounded that day at the same medical post.

J.H: So, to offer solace and care during such difficulty serves as a source of drive for you instead. That’s understandable.

Are there any organisations within Palestine which can help you cope with such experiences? Trying to handle that burden alone can be a very difficult, and even destructive, thing.

Israa: The PRCS has a Psycho-Social Support department which offers psychological support to the Society’s EMTs and volunteers.

With the help of specialized teams, they listen to us, offer us advice and provide us with training on how to be in control of our emotions and how to release pent-up stress after a long day of field work where we race to save lives

PRCS rushes to give aid during an emergency

J.H: Do you feel that a voluntary position within EMS has added to you as a person then?

Israa: I have no doubt that volunteering has added a lot to me as a person.

It’s made me better prepared for emergencies and helped me obtain a Master’s degree in Crises and Disaster Management.

My thesis was on the Role of paramedics in responding to crises and disasters and their impact on service quality.

J.H: One of the questions I asked Saleem, a fellow PRCS medic, in the last interview was what he would add to the service if he had the chance?

So, again, if you could just wave a magic wand and receive as many things as you thought necessary to better the delivery of EMS in Palestine, what would they be?

Israa: If I could wave a magic wand, I would ask for the following:

  1. Protecting medical teams, respecting the emblem and preventing all violations against them in line with IHL [International Human Law] provisions;
  2. Ending the suffering in the Gaza Strip so people can live in peace and security;
  3. Teaching First Aid to school children as part of their curriculum;
  4. Providing First Aid training for the maritime environment given the frequent clashes between occupation forces and Palestinians along Gaza’s shores.
PRCS volunteers give emergency treatment to a young patient at one of their medical posts

J.H: Very interesting answers offering much food for thought, thank you.

Do you find that the PRCS receive any aid from the PLO, or perhaps a less centralised political body within Palestine? Do you receive support from outside of Palestine at all?

Israa: The government of Palestine provides support to the PRCS as it happens in other countries. The Society also receives support from RCRC [Red Cross Red Crescent] constituents and from international humanitarian bodies.

J.H: And as an emergency service offering vital humanitarian aid, do think that you are given enough support politically from either inside or outside of Palestine?

Israa: The support we receive is insufficient given the great risks and violations committed against medics and the emblem in blatant violation of IHL [International Human Law].

J.H: At a guess, what types of calls would you say you see the most in your area?

Israa: Most calls have to do with car accidents, hypertension and heart conditions.

PRCS volunteers transporting patient

J.H: Do you think that anything can possibly done to alleviate this?

Israa: Yes. Penalties can reduce traffic infringements and decrease accidents.

On the other hand, hypertension and heart conditions are due to difficult living conditions in the Gaza Strip. Offering patients psychological support could help reduce stress and distress levels.

J.H: Well I sincerely hope that such ideas can be taken forward.

Getting back to the nature of voluntary EMS, do you perceive any differences between those who undertake voluntary EMS as a vocation and those who serve in employed positions?

Israa: Yes, the work I do as a volunteer EMT differs from what professional EMTs do.

A PRCS EMT volunteer evacuates an injured on in Al Bireh

They are more experienced and better capable of dealing with emergencies, handling challenging situations and coping with stress.

They face grave risks in order to assist others and have been well trained to become professional EMTs. As for me, I feel that this is just the beginning.

I still need to learn a lot from my professional colleagues in order to gain the experience they enjoy and to enhance my emergency-response skills, especially in wartime.

J.H: What do you do outside of serving with the PCRS? If this is a voluntary position, you must make your living through some other means?

Israa: I used to work as a teacher in a public school. Now, I have more time for my voluntary work at the PRCS. The unemployment rate is very high in the Gaza Strip because of Israeli occupation and the political situation.

J.H: I’m sorry to hear that. Similarly, how do you find the time to devote yourself to helping others and to regular training etc. in between your other personal duties in life?

Israa: I try to find the right balance between my work as a volunteer and my personal life.

I allocate two days every week to my voluntary duties at the Gaza EMS Centre and to tending those wounded during the March of Return protests. I also stand ready at all times to respond to emergencies.

PRCS Volunteer keeping spirits high at the Gaza Strip

J.H: Would you recommend volunteering in EMS to anyone else?

Israa: I would certainly advise anyone who has the capacity and qualifications to volunteer in EMS. Volunteering is an altruistic and humane activity that saves lives, serves society and builds ties between people.

J.H: And what advice would give to those hopeful volunteers then?

Israa: I would advise them to become perseverant volunteers and to use their free time to serve their society.

Volunteering offers great opportunities and is a wonderful way to provide humanitarian services to your community.

J.H: Israa, thank you for such candid and forthright answers. The glimpse you have offered into life working in EMS around Gaza has been fascinating, provocative and offers a foreground for much deeper continuing conversation.

I hope you continue to gain as much from your tireless voluntary emergency care as your community and patients do.

Nipping It In the Bud: How Infection Control and Preventative Education Methods Can Make the Difference Between A Manageable Public Crisis and An Outright Pandemic

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Magen David Adom has recently been coordinating with the Health Ministry, the Israeli government and all other relevant authorities who are dealing with the recent coronavirus pandemic and, in doing so, have been utilising every bit of their expertise in infection control.

Under the guidelines of the Ministry of Health, Magen David Adom began by opening a special hotline focusing on treating people suspected of contracting coronavirus (COVID-19).

This allowed them to closely monitor and track the spread of suspected cases of the virus whilst also going some way to keeping the public calm and showing them that there is no cause for alarm as proper measures of care are in place.

Since the opening of the hotline and at the time of publication, more than 15,000 citizen inquiries have been received at Magen David Adom’s 101 Emergency Call Center regarding coronavirus.

MDA paramedics sporting specialised PPE

However, it must be made clear that most of these were from concerned citizens who actually revealed no symptoms of the virus at all.

Anyone suspected of coming into contact with the virus is advised to call the hotline where paramedics and other health professionals who field the emergency calls are then joined by an on-call doctor or nurse who goes on to decide how each case should proceed and whether medical care is needed.

One of the most primary points of contact is a dedicated Health Ministry stand, operated 24/7 by MDA, at Ben Gurion airport which has been in place since the beginning of February this year.

MDA paramedics intercepting passangers
suspected of contact with the virus returning
from South Korea

The stand checks passengers arriving from China as well as those who have come into contact with individuals who have recently visited the country.

The efforts made by MDA and the Health Ministry in educating the public and in further containing suspected and verified cases of the virus have led to a number of home quarantines.

Volunteer paramedics from MDA visit the homes — in specialised protective clothing — and obtain mucosal samples which are then taken to a laboratory in the centre of the country for further testing.

More than 145 of Magen David Adom’s volunteers have undergone dedicated training on how to collect samples from the patients in order to deny the presence of coronavirus.

As part of the training, paramedics practiced taking the patient’s samples while staying fully protected against infection.

MDA Director General, Eli Bin, views specialised
insulated stretcher

The medics and paramedics in MDA’s 101 Emergency Call Center were also trained to question and manage the cases and Magen David Adom has developed a special system where, among other things, a video call with the patient can be made.

In case an urgent and life-saving evacuation is needed, requiring hospitalisation of a patient suspected of being infected with coronavirus, MDA EMTs will use an insulated stretcher that allows patient evacuation without the risk of further contagion.

So far, more than 30 samples have been taken and it should be emphasized that, up until now, no positive results have been recorded in the country, except for individuals of a special case who returned from a cruise ship in Japan. 

MDA paramedic Fadi Dekaidek, who has taken a few mucosal samples from citizens quarantined within their homes, went on to explain: “Before I enter the home I contact the patient and their family to let them know that I will be arriving and what is likely to happen.’

“I am doing this because it is a complicated situation, requiring a certain amount of reassurance, just the way we were trained.’

“As an MDA paramedic, you find yourself in a complex situation. I walk into the patient’s home for a few minutes, wearing a full protective suit in order to perform the test and immediately leave.’

“The specimen goes to the lab for testing in an airtight box. I hope these people are healthy and that tests will be negative.”

MDA paramedic with airtight container used for
transporting mucosal samples

MDA Director general, Eli Bin, stated: “We took the task very seriously and are dealing with it effectively in parallel with MDA’s routine activities.’

“On average, 6,500 calls are received each day in MDA’s 101 Emergency Dispatch Center, and we have the ability to handle even greater loads, as is the case nowadays, where close to 9,000 calls are being answered daily.”

In cases such as these, sometimes a response which shows the public that measures and precautions are in place to guarantee their safety go a long way in decreasing levels of public panic and limit the additional burden placed upon emergency services which would undoubtedly be higher if such measures were not in place.

Add to this the ability to closely track suspected and confirmed cases of viruses and other contagions and the importance of laying a strong foundation for infection control based upon public outreach and education becomes immediately apparent.

Corona Online: Automatic Response on the ‘My MDA App’

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As a service to the public, Magen David Adom has launched a digital questionnaire in the ‘My MDA’ app.

By filling in the questionnaire, users can determine the appropriate guidelines for their individual case, and the steps they should take to prevent the spread of the Corona virus.

The automated questionnaire includes questions regarding travel abroad or current symptoms.

Based on the answers provided, the app will automatically direct the caller to the MDA 101 Emergency Call Centre or, alternatively, to continue his or her routine.

Ido Rosenblat, MDA’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO), explained: “In the last few days, we received tens of thousands of inquiries from concerned citizens asking about the corona virus.’

“We have mapped out the questions that most concern the public, and created a comprehensive questionnaire. The user enters the app, and answers the structured questions aimed at determining their risk of contracting Corona.’

“Based on the user’s answers, instructions will be given in the app on how to continue forward, and required treatment.”

Since the time of writing, more than 25,000 calls have been received at MDA’s 101 Emergency Call Centre, compared to about 5,500 received during a routine day.

This is a significant increase, with most calls being received from citizens seeking answers about the corona virus.

MDA Director General, Eli Bin, stated: “MDA EMTs and paramedics continue to take samples from patients who are quarantined, and have reported symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath, and in accordance with a district physician’s decision and who meet the criteria determined by the Ministry of Health to have a sample taken to be tested.’

“We urge the public to use the app and acquire the initial information they need. This will help to make the information easily and quickly accessible, and also to relieve the burden at the Dispatch Centres, which is required in order to continue routine life-saving activities.”

You can download My MDA application at: http://q-r.to/bafscX

MDA emphasises that in cases where there are no physical symptoms, general details and guidelines regarding the corona virus can also be found at the Ministry of Health website, the Health Ministry hotline at *5400 or the HMO hotlines, as well as the ‘My MDA’ app.

Welcoming Israel’s First Pink Ambulance

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United Hatzalah of Israel recently inaugurated Israel’s first pink ambulance whose specific mission it is to treat women.

The ambulance will be operated by a crew of female volunteer EMTs and paramedics and will respond to any type of medical emergency, but will prioritise responding to incidents in which there are female patients. 

The idea came to fruition following the growth and success of our Women’s Unit, which now numbers close to 100 volunteer responders spread across metropolitan areas in Israel.

According to a statement made by President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer, “The issue of women helping women isn’t a religious issue — it’s a humanitarian issue. This is a very special day for United Hatzalah.”

The new ambulance was presented at the annual meeting of the Women’s Unit which opened two years ago in Jerusalem and has since grown to incorporate other cities as well.

It was donated by a woman who wishes to remain anonymous. She had heard about the work that the unit is doing and decided to fund an ambulance that will be operated by women specifically from this unit in order to allow them to arrive faster at more medical emergencies. 

Founder of United Hatzalah’s Women’s Unit Gitty Beer spoke about the importance of the new addition to the unit. “We see the importance of the work that the Women’s Unit does on a daily basis and the need for there to be a specified ambulance to help women who prefer being treated by other women.

This new ambulance will be a critical and important aid to the volunteers in the women’s unit, both in providing a faster response as well as providing a training platform for more women to become volunteer EMTs.” 

Gitty added: “When we respond to a woman who is undergoing a miscarriage, the last thing she wants to see is a bunch of male EMTs rush into her bathroom.’

“Having women there to treat her will bring her some semblance of comfort. If there is a CPR call, or someone is choking, then obviously the gender of the responders is irrelevant.’

“However, in cases where there is room for consideration, we like to go the extra mile to help assist the public in providing as much care and comfort as possible to our patients while aiding them through medical emergencies.”  

999 Rescue Day 2020 Preparations In Full Swing

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This Event Has Now Unfortunately Been Cancelled Due To The Coronavirus Pandemic

The team behind “Rescue Day”, the annual 999 day at Crowle, North Lincs, are already working hard to plan and prepare for this summer’s event.

The hugely popular day promotes the great work of our emergency and voluntary services and attracts crowds in the thousands each year.

The event will see a mass of 999 vehicles and crews including Police, fire, ambulance, water rescue, air ambulance, search and rescue, rail and highways rescue and recovery teams, and many more, all converge on North Lincolnshire to show the public what they do through a series of live action displays.

Keen to interact with the public, the rescue teams display their specialist vehicles and equipment and also promote water, road, rail and fire safety advice as well as setting up a fairground, boat and pony rides, stalls and attractions, and a range of food and drink stands.

The Red Devils Parachute Display team will also be returning, making a big splash when they land into the main lake. Additionally, Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance will be arriving at 7 Lakes for visitors to see up close and talk to the pilot and crew, provided they are needed for any emergency callouts of course.

Rescue Day in a non-profit event, raising money for charities and good causes — it has funded many lifesaving public defibrillators which have been placed in local communities over recent years.

Last year donations were also presented to Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance, the Scunthorpe Sea Cadets, plus volunteer rescue teams including York Rescue Boat, Humber Rescue and the International Rescue Corps.

Donations were also given to the popular Pete Lewin Newfoundland rescue and Support Dogs organisation and to the Volunteer Animal Rescuers from British Divers Marine Life Rescue.

Rescue Day 2020 will be held on Saturday 11th July at 7 Lakes Country Park near Scunthorpe. Gates will open from 9.30am to 5.00pm and advanced tickets will be available online at www.rescueday999.com from May onwards.

Visit the website or follow Rescue Day on social media Twitter: @Rescue_Day or www.facebook.com/rescudedayuk for more information.