The American Jewish Committee (AJC) and United Hatzalah are teaming up to train first responders in India and Sri Lanka in mass casualty incidents and disaster management. The mission, which is being funded by the AJC, is bringing five experts from United Hatzalah of Israel to numerous locations throughout India and Sri Lanka to help train members of local response organizations in how to provide quick and effective emergency response to large-scale emergencies ranging from natural disasters to terror attacks.

Local participants in the mission include the Indian Red Cross, 108 emergency system (India’s 911) and local responders such as Fire and Rescue as well as emergency medical service (EMS) crews from each of the cities participating.

The mission began on Sunday in Gurugram and continued on to New Delhi where the United Hatzalah team gave frontal lectures to dozens of emergency responders and then held a combined training drill for all of the participants, guiding them through the procedures used in Israel.

“It is eye-opening to see how emergency response systems work in different countries and how much we can share with one another and learn from each other,” said Vice President of Operations for United Hatzalah Dov Maisel who is leading the mission. “The teams in India are professional and are excellent at providing assistance. They even had a few fire rescue motorcycles which are similar to what we use in Israel to arrive at emergencies faster. We are adding to their already existing knowledge base numerous styles of emergency triage and disaster management from a number of different angles as our team is comprised of EMS experts and well as some of Israel’s elite Search and Rescue professionals who have been at disasters all over the globe.”

The AJC and United Hatzalah mission is working with local EMS providers in New Delhi, Gurugram, Mumbai, Agra in Uttar Pradesh, Ahmedabad in Gujarat, and Colombo in Sri Lanka,

After the second day into the 12-day mission, Maisel said that the trip has been educational in both directions. “We came here to teach the styles of emergency management and interoperability between agencies that we use in Israel. We were asked to come by local officials after they toured our Dispatch and Command Center in Jerusalem last year. While the point of the mission is for us to train the local teams here with our skill set, they have been incredibly receptive of the material and have taught us a few techniques that we hope to bring back to Israel as well. International partnerships such as these are always opportunities to both teach and learn new ways of doing things more efficiently and helping patients in both countries faster and in a more effective manner.”

The mission commenced this past Sunday, and is scheduled to end with the return of the team to Israel next Friday.