Israel’s National Emergency Authority and the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have signed an agreement for joint training and cooperation.
The Israeli National Emergency Authority (NEA) is the Defense Ministry body responsible for coordinating military and civilian action during a state of emergency, war or natural disaster. The IDF announced on Monday that the NEA has recently signed an agreement for cooperation with its American counterpart, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Among the NEA’s duties, as defined in 2007 when it was formed, is the Immunization of the population in the event of an emergency.
Within the framework of the new agreement, NEA representatives will participate in simulations which will take place in the United States and which will resemble different disaster scenarios. Similarly, emergency contingency operational methods that have been developed in Israel will be presented before the American representatives.
“The Americans see us as an authority in our field,” EMA chief Ze’ev Tzuk-Rom said, “but fortunately for us, there are incidents that we have yet to confront. They have had to face scenarios such as extremely strong earthquakes and the evacuation of mass populations… In general, the idea will be to gain experience and to learn from their previous knowledge.”
The organizations' working teams are to meet with each other over the course of the year, discussing various cooperative efforts such as joint training exercises. Another issue to be raised will be the possibility of establishing a school for emergency situation management, parallel to the established American model.
“The list of things that we can gain from this agreement is endless,” said the head of the NEA’s Planning and Strategic Cooperation Department. “The most important thing that we plan to internalize is the cultural understanding of the way American work. Relative to the size of our country, we have had to deal with many high-pressure incidents.”
Maj. Yechezkel Deutsch, who will be promoted to the rank of Lt.-Col. along with his appointment this summer as the Liaison Officer of the Home Front Command within the United States, said that the cooperative work between FEMA and the NEA has already begun.
“The job of the Liaison Officer is to represent the IDF Home Front Command and the Israeli National Emergency Authority,” Deutsch explained. “We [the Home Front Command] have a great relationship with the NEA in everything related to international relationships, and we have already begun to implement coordination of expectations between the American and Israeli bodies, as a part of the cooperative work.”