The Israel Dog Unit (IDU), a nonprofit specializing in search and rescue, has successfully completed a series of exercises to prepare its volunteers and eponymous working dogs for the aftermath of a building collapse.
Such a situation could result from a number of catalysts. One possibility is an earthquake; leading researchers have commented that Israel is likely to be struck by a significant seismic event in the near future.
Another concern is missile strikes against Israeli urban centers; Hezbollah has recently boasted of its growing stockpile of advanced missiles, and Hamas has issued several warnings of renewed hostilities in light of growing tensions in the Shimon Hatzadik neighborhood of Jerusalem.
The exercises were held at the Magen Disaster and Emergency Management training facility, which is designed to simulate buildings collapsed by a variety of catalysts. The exercises included searching for victims both alive and deceased, as well as safety procedures in a disaster area and methods for penetrating a collapsed building.
A new generation of working dogs was introduced to the site as well, undergoing more basic exercises intended to acclimate them to working in unfamiliar surroundings.
The IDF Home Front Command, as well as several local authorities, have likewise conducted earthquake drills since the beginning of 2022, and residents of towns near the Syrian-African rift have expressed concern that the government is not adequately prepared for a seismic event.
IDU director Yekutiel Ben-Yaakov commented "The two earthquakes felt in Haifa last week are yet another reminder, G-d forbid just how vulnerable Israel is. A severe quake would leave tens of thousands trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings. We feel that it is a holy mission to prepare more dogs and handlers to rescue lives in Israel in search and rescue and security missions."