IDU volunteers training with Tel Mond rescue worker
IDU volunteers training with Tel Mond rescue worker IDU Public Relations

The Israel Dog Unit (IDU), a nonprofit specializing in search and rescue, has begun training working dogs to assist the independent first response teams maintained by Israel's cities and regional councils.

This morning, a special training session was held to prepare working dogs from Tel Mond, a town in the Sharon region of Israel, to locate individuals trapped in buildings that have collapsed due to earthquake or rocket strikes. The exercise was held at a facility maintained by the private firm Magen Disaster and Emergency Management near the Hadassah Neurim Youth Village to simulate the aftermath of such an event.

Over the course of Operation Breaking Dawn, multiple Israeli buildings around the Gaza region suffered direct rocket strikes. Operation Breaking Dawn also included multiple road closures and a number of secondary emergencies, including fires started by falling shrapnel or people being injured in a rush for sheltered areas, which strained national rescue services in the area. This has highlighted the need for local authorities to be able to provide immediate and independent emergency services to their citizens, including search and rescue teams in the case of a building collapse.

Israel has also experienced numerous seismic events over the past year. Researchers at Tel Aviv University told the Times of Israel that Israel is likely to experience at least one major earthquake every 100-150 years. The last such tremor, in 1927, left hundreds dead in both Israel and Jordan. The projected magnitude is between 6 and 7 on the Richter scale, enough to destroy poorly supported buildings and deal significant damage to stronger ones. Hundreds of casualties can be expected.

IDU director Yekutiel Ben-Yaakov commented: "We see these exercises as part of the sacred task of preparing fully operational dogs and handlers throughout Israel to deliver a rapid and professional response should, God forbid, there be a need for it."