Gas warfare drill
Gas warfare drill IDF Blog

On a Thursday afternoon last month, the IDF’s Home Front Command closed off a country club in Kfar Saba, in central Israel, and filled its grounds with soldiers acting as mock casualties of a chemical attack.

The exercise started with an imaginary nerve gas rocket landing near the country club, when it was full of people. The rocket wounded a number of people and created a chemical cloud-like gas that can cause hundreds of casualties as it spreads.

Within minutes, reported the IDF Blog, Magen David Adom (MDA), hospital workers, Health Ministry teams, municipality officials, and the Home Front Command’s medical and rescue soldiers arrived at the scene.

The wounded were first taken to shower at the country club, in order to eliminate any remnants of gas on their bodies. From there, each person was classified according to his or her level of injury.

The lightly wounded remained in the country club, while the more seriously wounded were evacuated to the nearby Meir hospital.

Showers and offices for an ETC (Examination and Treatment Center) are set up at the country club in a matter of hours. Col. MD Eyal Furman explained that the ETC “starts operating the moment we arrive. We provide the best possible treatment to those lightly wounded, so that they do not have to be treated in a crowded hospital.”

While paramedics and doctors stood ready to treat the wounded at the ETC, psychologists treated trauma victims, and hospital workers took care of registration and medical records.

The more seriously wounded victims who reach the hospital undergo “purification” and treatment before entering the hospital. “The ‘purification’ includes the process of washing the material from the body and from the clothing," said Col. Dr. Furman. "The treatment includes applying material that counteracts the poisonous gas. Additionally, there’s treatment for those struggling with shortness of breath.”

A situation can arise where one is too wounded to go through the ‘purification’ process. We therefore have a station with people who stabilize the wounded. First, we treat the immediate wound, and only after do we clean it,” says Col. Dr. Furman.

Preliminary treatment of nerve gas includes Fuller’s Earth, a powder that absorbs the gas, as well as washing the body extensively with water. In cases of serious injuries, the treatment requires the periodic application of different materials to neutralize the gas.

Photos: IDF Spokesman's Unit / IDF Blog

Col. Dr. Eyal Furman
Col. Dr. Eyal Furman IDF Blog