Israel has begun its nationwide program to provide protection kits with gas masks to every citizen in the country, and for the first time ever, the IDF Home Front Command has teamed up with the nation's Postal Service to distribute the equipment.
The campaign, officially launched on Tuesday, is being carried out to ensure that every Israeli will be protected in case of chemical, biological or other attack that could temporarily threaten one's ability to breathe.
Citizens are able to obtain their kits in two ways – either by going to one of several distribution stations currently in the process of opening up throughout the country, or by calling the Israel Postal Service and asking for the kits to be mailed directly to the home.
The first distribution points are expected to open in Ashdod and Rishon LeTzion, with eight more stations to open shortly thereafter in the Tel Aviv metro area, Jerusalem, Be'er Sheva, Haifa and the surrounding area.
Israelis choosing the second option are asked to call the Israel Postal Authority's “171” hotline and coordinate a time for delivery of the kit to the home. The delivery service costs NIS 25 (approximately $7) per household.
Several weeks ago, the project was piloted in the Beka'at Ono area, where some 70,000 were distributed via the postal service. “The high satisfaction with the Home Front Command's service regarding the distribution time and according to the terms of the agreement with the Israel Post has brought further cooperation with them on a national level,” explained the IDF Spokesman in a statement on the army's website.
Individual protection kits were first distributed to the citizens of Israel on the eve of the American Gulf War with Iraq in 1990. Routine maintenance of the kits was subsequently provided by Home Front Command until 2003. As the kits reached their expiration dates, and demographic changes took place across the country, the government collected the kits for rehabilitation and upgrading in a drive that took place from 2007 to 2008.
Home Front Command may be reached by dialing ”1207” from any telephone in Israel.