Nationwide Emergency Drills Planned, Ashkelon First

Israelis will participate in a drill simulating a nationwide attack that might result in mass casualties next month. But Ashkelon isn’t waiting.

Hana Levi Julian,

One of the many missiles aimed at Israel
One of the many missiles aimed at Israel
File photo

People across the country will participate in a drill next month that will help them prepare for a possible attack on the State of Israel. 

The five-day drill, to be conducted by the National Emergency Authority, will commence on Sunday April 6 and simulate mass casualty events and other attacks throughout Israel.

Air raid sirens will scream throughout the country; citizens will be instructed to locate and head to the nearest public bomb shelter, while government offices and hospitals go into action, implementing their various emergency plans.

Every level of government, all rescue services, hospitals, police, IDF and security services will participate in the drill, which is designed to help the country prepare for possible future attacks from hostile nations in the region.

Ashkelon, a GRAD Target is First
The city of Ashkelon isn’t waiting.

On Tuesday, Barzilai Medical Center will hold a full-scale emergency exercise from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. that will simulate a direct hit by a GRAD missile on the hospital.  In the drill, a five-story hospital building, plus an outpatient-clinic laboratory containing toxic chemicals will be hit. Teams will evacuate “patients” from the “blazing” five-story building, including by lowering them from the roof.

The drill, in which some 100 firefighters, 10 fire service vehicles,  other firefighting equipment, doctors and nurses will take part, is meant to assess the hospital’s ability to cope with such a situation.

Since the recent GRAD attacks, in which more than two dozen missiles struck various neighborhoods and other areas in the port city, the Home Front Command announced it would adjust the incoming-rocket alert siren to sound 30 seconds before the rockets hit. The system, slated to be changed the day of the drill, had provided only a 15-second window within which people could reach safe rooms, shelters or other places in which to take refuge from the rockets..

Hamas terrorists in Gaza have rapidly graduated from a relatively primitive terror gang to becoming a military organization with improved attack capabilities.

Seven years of constant, lethal attacks on the western Negev using homemade short-range Kassam rockets have indeed terrorized Israeli civilians in the south, but the relatively primitive missile is gradually giving way to more sophisticated rockets.

Generous support in the form of funds, specialized terror training abroad and gifts of advanced weaponry and munitions from Iran smuggled into Gaza through Egypt have transformed Hamas into what defense sources have said is a true army.

Preparing for Iran
The mass casualty event drills are also meant to prepare the country for a possible attack using nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons from Iran, Syria and other Muslim enemies.

Although there is no imminent sign of such an attack, increasing reports on Iran’s relentless drive to develop nuclear capability are ratcheting up the pressure to prepare for the possibility.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad frequently trumpets bits of progress in the Islamic Republic’s uranium enrichment program, taunting the international community each time with its inability to halt the process. Uranium enrichment is a key component in the process used to create nuclear energy, be it for domestic purposes as Iran claims to be doing, or for development of a nuclear weapon.

Economic sanctions imposed against Iran by the United Nations Security Council have been largely ineffective in the attempt to persuade Ahmadinejad to suspend, if not entirely end the program.

Israel and the US, as well as a number of other Western nations are convinced that Iran is hurtling toward completion of a nuclear warhead, which it intends to eventually aim at Israel.