As hundreds of rockets fell on Israel, the Iron Dome defense system — and the brave IDF soldiers who man it — worked to keep up and shoot them down. But The Times of Israel's Melanie Lidman also tells us how overtaxed Israeli emergency workers were, as they had to respond to multiple incidents for each rocket that fell:
“Sometimes we’ll have four instances at once, and we don’t even know where to go [first],” said Lugasi, who oversees 27 volunteers for United Hatzalah in the Ashkelon region, including the city and 28 surrounding towns. “Do you go to the closest event? The one with the most injuries?”
Both Magen David Adom and United Hatzalah add additional dispatchers to help direct an efficient flow of volunteers when there is a large-scale situation such as sustained rocket attacks in the south. Magen David Adom spokesman Zaki Heller said dozens of MDA paramedics from across the country volunteered to come down south to take extra shifts in order to relieve local staff and volunteers.
Whenever a rocket makes contact with the ground or a building, the first people on the scene are the Israel police bomb sapper’s unit, to ensure there is no additional unexploded ordnance and the site is safe for emergency workers. The police and Home Front Command give the all-clear for emergency workers to enter a site and check for any injured people. But sometimes, additional sirens go off while emergency workers are already responding to instances.
“It was really dangerous to try and take care of people and there are also sirens going off and you’re not quite sure what to do,” said Lugasi, who has worked as a paramedic and first responder for the past 32 years.
“The worst part is this lack of certainty, you don’t know when it will stop or start again. It’s really difficult...”