Happy 90th birthday MDA!

June 9, 2020 by Zaki Heler
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The story of Israel’s ambulance service Magen David Adom began exactly 90 years ago, on June 7, 1930, when the British High Commissioner approved the registration of the Association for Rapid Assistance as an association.

One of the first ambulances

A few days later, residents of Tel Aviv began donating to “Magen David Adom”. The public in the first Hebrew city realized 90 years ago how important the organization was donated money. Within a few months, the building of the first Magen David Adom ambulance was completed. At that time, the association’s first aid station was also set up on Nahalat Binyamin Street in the city, operated 24 hours a day by a volunteers’ battalion, led by Haim Halperin.

The need for an organization was growing and in 1935 a permanent building was built for Magen David Adom, which served the Tel Aviv public until 1976 when the activity was moved to a new building on Hashla Street in the city. At the same time, other branches in Israel were established for the organization and because of the 1936 Arab revolt, Dr Levontin came up with the idea of ​​setting up a “Blood Bank,” to save the lives of patients and injured who need a blood transfusion.

Ben-Gurion visits MDA

In a way, the 1936 events were a kind of preparation for World War II, which broke out on September 1, 1939. At that time, dozens of temporary and sheltered stations were set up by MDA, where hundreds of injured people were treated and parcels to Jewish soldiers on all fronts, as well as to patients, injured and their families were sent too.

With the arriving of the Ma’apilim (illegal immigrants during the British Mandate period), MDA staff accompanied them and assisted them in every way possible. In the War of Independence, Magen David Adom’s teams increased medical service, with 5,000 volunteers volunteering at the organization’s 24 branches, and through 28 ambulances.

With the establishment of the State of Israel, in the midst of the battles, the young state recognized Magen David Adom as Israel’s National Rescue Organization, and in 1950 enacted a Magen David Adom Law, officially recognized the Association as the nationwide national rescue organization, which serves as the Israeli counterpart to the World Red Cross Organization and operates according to the Geneva Convention. Since then, the organization has been operating at the forefront of the field of emergency medicine in the entire State of Israel, in routine and in emergencies.

…and today

With the entry of the first emergency motorcycle in Israel to activity in Magen David Adom 20 years ago, the immediate response unit of Magen David Adom was established with thousands of EMTs, paramedics and doctors who were dispatched every day to thousands of emergency calls on MDA motorcycles, in ambulances and in private vehicles, equipped with advanced equipment and defibrillators.

Today, 30,000 employees and volunteers are active at Magen David Adom, in 169 stations and launching posts throughout the country. The organization operates approximately 1,200 MICUs and ambulances, 10 ATVs, six jeeps, 44 armoured ambulances, 650 motorcycles, 194 electric bicycles, 49 electric vehicles, a seabulance boat, two helicopters and two buses for mass evacuation.

Each year, MDA emergency vehicles respond to more than a million and three hundred thousand calls, and more than twice every minute. MDA teams, always at the forefront of saving lives, perform resuscitation on average of 19 people each day, and deliver 3 babies daily. More than a quarter of a million units of blood are donated to the Magen David Adom Blood Bank every year, helping to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients and injured. Approximately 2 million calls are received each year at MDA’s 101 Emergency Call Center, with the average response time being only four seconds.


One Response to “Happy 90th birthday MDA!”
  1. Lynne Newington says:

    What a wonderful mission statement and proud to have my name connected through membership.

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