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IPRED III Conference (Tel Aviv, Israel)

Tel Aviv, Israel – Last week Trek Medics had the pleasure of presenting at the 3rd International Conference on Healthcare System Preparedness and Response to Emergencies and Disasters (IPRED III) in Tel Aviv, Israel. The conference was organized by the State of Israel, the Israeli Defense Forces Home Front Command and the Israeli Ministry of Health, to provide an opportunity for emergency responders from around the world to share the latest findings and new experiences regarding health system readiness for disasters and emergencies of all types. On hand were nearly 1000 participants representing 40 different countries including Israel, North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, among others. The participants engaged in seminars and presentations on a range of topics drawn to actual experiences in health system preparedness and response. The 4-day conference culminated in a “Mega Mass-Casualty Incident Drill”, conducted by healthcare providers from multiple public and private Israeli agencies.

Trek Medics participated in the Information Systems in Emergencies session, and received a welcome response for our presentation, “SMS-based emergency medical dispatching for low- and middle-income countries”.

Several attendees from US and European emergency medical services (EMS) agencies spoke of their experiences in EMS development, and offered some unique aspects that deserve some recognition

  • Ralph Barishansky (US), the EMS Director for the State of Connecticut, discussed the challenges faced by EMS agencies in the US since 9/11, focusing on the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to improve emergency preparedness and the unique obstacles created by a lack of a lead federal EMS agency to support that work. In short, the question remains: Why doesn’t the US have a lead federal EMS agency?

  • Dr. Ervigio Corral Torres (Spain), the Medical Director for Madrid’s EMS agency (SAMUR) presented on “the Quality Control System in the Attendance to Trauma in an EMS with Physicians On-Scene”. Dr. Corral discussed how their system requires that all trauma patients are followed up on by EMS at 6-hours, 24-hours and 6-days after admission. This seems something that all EMS agencies would benefit from.

  • Dr. Leo Latsch (Germany) discussed the increasing role of paramedics in the German EMS system – a move that is part of Germany’s evolution away from physician-based EMS. In Germany, there was an issue in multi-casualty incidents where, by law, only physicians are allowed to perform triage, which inevitably led to unnecessary delays in triaging the critically injured while waiting for a physician to arrive. In decidedly German pragmatism, their EMS agency developed protocols for paramedics to perform “pre-triage”, effectively circumventing existing laws, yet without compromising them.

  • Jason Pemberton (New Zealand), the founder and president of the Student Volunteer Army (SVA) presented on his organization’s activities in response to the Christchurch earthquake, when more than 11,000 student volunteers spontaneously mobilized to provide much-needed assistance in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake. Since the earthquake, SVA has been involved a number of fantastic community and youth outreach programs, as well as lending a hand in a big way to American disaster response teams during Superstorm Sandy in northeastern US.

Another attendee we were glad to meet was the men and women from United Hatzalah, “the largest independent, non-profit, fully volunteer Emergency Medical Services organization that provides the fastest and free emergency medical first response throughout Israel.” For those of you who haven’t seen the founder and president, Eli Beer’s talk on TedTalks, it’s definitely worth the time. United Hatzalah essentially employs the same approach to prehospital care as Trek Medics – the only difference being that United Hatzalah volunteers don’t transport.

The final day consisted of a Mega Mass-Casualty Incident Drill which simulated a plane crash into a building near Ben Gurion International Airport with a second drill held at nearby Tel Hashomer Medical Center.

Beacon emergency dispatch is a cloud-based, do-it-yourself platform for emergency services that alerts, coordinates and tracks prehospital personnel using any mobile phone, with or without internet.

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