Ambulance service Israeli-style

January 1, 2024 by Zaki Heler
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In 2023,  Magen David Adom Emergency Medical Technicians and paramedics were dispatched on 1,447,561 calls, on over 2,300 mobile intensive care units (MICUs), ambulances and medicycles across Israel.

On average, a call is received in the 101 Emergency Call Centre every 9.5 seconds, and the average time to answer is only 1 second.

MDA Director General Eli Bin said: “During 2023, Magen David Adom continued to advance technologically, alongside providing emergency medical services that are among the best in the world and collecting blood donations for the citizens of Israel in routine and during the days of war that still plague our country. About 35,000 volunteers and employees worked over the past year for the health of the residents of the State of Israel, day and night, in the air, at sea and on land, on Shabbat and festivals, in summer and winter, with great dedication, professionalism and above all – from the heart. In the past year, we had to deal with difficult events that claimed the lives of our volunteers and employees.

Immediately on Black Saturday, October 7, we inaugurated the new building of the MDA blood services in Ramla, where, in a protected building, life-saving blood units are tested and processed, are delivered to the wounded in the hospitals and the IDF, alongside breast milk donations that are provided to premature babies and babies whose mothers are unable to nurse them. Our teams continued to work under fire and while risking their lives, bravely and courageously, with the aim of saving lives in the best possible way. In 2024, we will continue to do as much as we can and will spare nothing to benefit the health of the citizens of the State of Israel.”

Summary of the year in numbers:

About 34,500 volunteers, employees, national and civilian service men and women, work in MDA, including 14,490 teenagers. In addition, about 18,000 life guardians are active in MDA. MDA volunteers invested more than four million, seven hundred thousand volunteer hours. The average age of MDA volunteers is 26. The oldest volunteer is a 90-year-old resident of Ness Tziona and the youngest MDA volunteer is 14.

Magen David Adom operates 200 stations and standby points all over the country. Over 2,300 MICUs, ambulances, MDA medicycles and unique vehicles operate throughout the country. Of these, 86 are rapid response vehicles, of which 60 are electric, 47 4×4 vehicles, 16 ATVs, 19 jeep ambulances, 24 multi-casualty event vehicles, 14 medical supervisor vehicles, 3 Unimog vehicles, two intensive care buses and 35 bulletproof ambulances, intensive care vehicles, blood donation vehicles and command vehicles, three electric vehicles for sports fields, three mobile clinics and two mobile standby points.

There are 517 medicycles, of which 57 heavy motorcycles, including eight electric medicycles, and 196 electric bicycles. The MDA Intensive Care Sea Ambulance operates on the Sea of Galilee, and a Sea-ambulance operates on the shores of Eilat, which was launched during the period of activity from April to October to provide medical treatment in 183 cases.

In 2023, MDA’s emergency vehicles were launched 1,447,561 times – on average, a team was dispatched every 21.7 seconds. MDA’s EMTs and paramedics treated 59,121 victims in road accidents across the country. 16,283 pregnant women were evacuated to the hospital, and 1,062 of them gave birth with the help of MDA teams at home or on the way to the hospital. During the swimming season, MDA EMTs and paramedics provided medical treatment to 266 adults and children who were pulled from the sea, pools and various water sources after getting into difficulties.

410,000 men and women participated in CPR and first aid courses over the past year, some 60,000 of them through the free courses taught by MDA in bomb shelters as part of the service to the community during the “Iron Swords” war. 563 MDA youth volunteers were trained to use the multi-casualty station, and 602 qualified as first-aid trainers.

This year, 336,456 units of blood were collected by the donation teams at MDA’s blood services in blood drives that took place throughout the country, in donation rooms at MDA stations and at the various IDF bases. This is an increase of 25% compared to 2022. 118,002 units were donated by the donation teams Starting from Black Saturday (7.10) until the end of the civil year. 38% of blood donors in 2023 are women, an increase of 7% compared to 2022, while 21.7% of blood donors are new donors. MDA’s blood services operate 45 bloodmobiles, 2 blood donation trailers and 2 blood donation buses that can each collect from 5 donors at the same time. In October, the MDA blood services moved to the protected blood service building in Kiryat MDA in Ramla and all blood donations were tested to determine blood type and identify infectious diseases in the MDA blood services laboratories and were provided to all hospitals and the IDF.

MDA’s National Human Milk Bank provided about 2,900 litres of milk to premature babies in need and about 30 infants, who were orphaned, whose mothers were kidnapped or injured, or to babies of mothers who were recruited into the IDF in the past calendar year. In 2023, about 700 new milk donors joined the bank who meet the strictest medical standards in order to provide the safest milk for premature babies, about 450 of them joined during the ‘Iron Swords’ war.

Magen David Adom’s logistical array took care of all the organisation’s medical and operational needs in the field throughout the year. 2,311 immediate response kits were prepared in 2023 by the employees and volunteers of the array and were distributed to Magen David Adom EMTs, paramedics and doctors, with which they saved lives even outside of working hours. Over 1,800 additional kits were prepared and will be distributed to MDA volunteers in the coming months. 102 wishes were granted thanks to MDA’s two Wish Ambulances. Magen David Adom, in cooperation with Hatzolah-Air, operate an intensive care plane and 3 helicopters equipped with advanced intensive care equipment, and these treated and airlifted 336 sick and injured patients to hospitals throughout the country.

MDA has a unique national command and control truck with the best technologies, and three district command and communication vehicles. MDA teams participated in approximately 315 field exercises. MDA’s 101 emergency call centre received 3,314,193 calls in the past year; on average, a 101 call is received at MDA every 9.5 seconds – while the average response time to a 101 call is within only one second. In 2023, MDA placed 284 public access defibrillators in 65 communities throughout the country. Since the beginning of the project of placing defibrillator devices in the public space, MDA has placed 1,669 life-saving devices in 506 different communities and towns. In addition, MDA has placed over 600 devices in synagogues in Jerusalem and other cities.

During the “Iron Swords” war, 97 new rescue vehicles were put into service at Magen David Adom, including 37 ambulances, 29 MICUs, 16 electric rapid response vehicles, 15 emergency medicycles, of which three are electric. MDA’s blood services collected over 118,000 units of blood that were supplied to the hospitals and the IDF and saved the lives of thousands of civilians, police officers and soldiers – some of them inside the combat zones in the Gaza Strip. During the months of the war, 48.5% of blood donors are women. 31,856 of the blood donors during the war are new blood donors for whom this was the first donation. Over 60,000 citizens were instructed by Magen David Adom instructors as part of an emergency first aid course and received tools with which they can provide life-saving first aid in the event of an injury or cardiac arrest. MDA’s 101 emergency call centre answered 21,642 emergency calls on Black Saturday.

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