National Defibrillator Awareness Day
National Defibrillator Awareness DayMDA spokesperson

Tuesday has been designated by Magen David Adom (MDA) along with partners from Mifal Hapayis (the lottery), the Israel Cardiology Association, the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel, the "Efo Defi (Where's the defib)" app, and the Samim Lev organization as National Defibrillator Awareness Day.

This special day is designed to highlight the defibrillator (or defib, for short) and show how it can be easily accessed and used by any member of the public in an emergency.

Throughout this week, and in particular on 2.22.22, there will be a nationwide campaign in cooperation with Mifal Hapayis, with stations teaching CPR and the use of the defib. Sessions will also take place online in collaboration with other organizations such as the IDF, HMOs and the Health Ministry.

MDA teams across the country will be on hand in dozens of locations to teach the public how to use the defib, and to explain the importance of calling MDA's 101 Emergency Dispatch Center in any medical emergency. They will also explain how to find a defib in an emergency, and show how easy it is to use.

Some 8,000 cases of cardiac arrest occur in Israel each year, with approximately half happening outside of hospitals, and this is the second most common cause of death in the country. With each 60 seconds that pass from a cardiac arrest, the patient's chances of survival drop by around 10%. The faster the patient receives an electric shock, the better the chances of a good outcome. Many lives have already been saved by defibs that have been placed in public access by MDA and other organizations.

There is no need for prior medical knowledge when using the defib, making it simple to save a life. The defib gives electric shocks as and when required, controls the rate of CPR and gives clear and precise instructions. At the same time, it is connected to MDA's 101 Dispatch Center, and the dispatcher, an EMT or paramedic, can give further instructions over the phone. The team that is on route to the call also receives up to the minute information from one of the thousands of defibs that have been placed across the whole of Israel.

"Samim Lev" is an organization set up by Lihi Koren following her father's cardiac arrest. This occurred at his work, and there was no defib available until the MDA team arrived. They work alongside "Eyfo Defi," an app that also maps the location of defibs in both public and private locations and is synchronized with MDA.

Avidgor Yitzhaki, CEO of Mifal Hapayis, said: "A year and a half ago, Mifal Hapayis along with MDA started a national initiative to place defibrillators in public areas. This project placed 600 advanced defibs at Mifal Hapayis stalls, with remote access from MDA's 101 Dispatch Center, at a cost of 5 million shekel. Public access is available even if the stalls are closed. Mifal Hapayis invests all of its profits in projects that benefit the wider community, and there is no greater benefit than saving a life. We are thrilled to be a part of the project along with MDA and all the other organizations."

Haim Bibas, who chairs the Federation of Local Authorities, said: "The federation deals on a daily basis, during routine and emergency times, with the safety and security of the general public. We place a special emphasis on saving lives. We are seeing more participation of local authorities in public health, especially during the corona [pandemic]. It is a great merit for us to be a part of this project that allows us to participate in approaching the public and allows to raise awareness, to teach, to add some more machines in the public arena, and as such to help save more precious lives."

Dr. Itzik Biton, a representative of the Israel Cardiology Association, said: "The association has spent many years in improving treatment for cardiac patients in Israel by training medical staff, [conducting] advanced research, new laws, and of course educating the general public. We value very highly the reduction in death rates and disability caused by sudden death, through cooperation with the national rescue organizations, the Health Ministry, local authorities, and public awareness campaigns to raise awareness of defibrillators in the public arena. This is the start of a range of activities that will lead the State of Israel to being a world leader in this field and save many lives."

MDA Director General, Eli Bin added: "Over the past few years, MDA has been actively working towards making more defibrillators available to the public with the direct aim of saving lives. Alongside thousands of defib stands, many of MDA's staff have a defib in their private vehicle or Medi-cycle in order to be able to save lives at any time. I call on the public to attend the MDA locations that will be spread across the country in order to learn how to perform CPR and use the defibrillator – simple actions that can save lives. I'd like to thank our partners in Mifal Hapayis, and the many other organizations that have been working with us to assist the public, taking part in the many activities to raise awareness of the use of defibrillators amongst the general public – [the] machines which have certainly saved many lives across Israel."