Hatzolah dispatchers answer more than a thousand calls in Los Angeles every year, an average of two to five calls each day. The problem might be minor trauma or a more serious life threatening emergency. Whatever the need, dispatchers are available every hour of night and day in the Pico/Roberson, Hancock Park and Valley Village/North Hollywood neigborhoods. Jewish families can sleep a little better knowing that Hatzolah is just a phone call away. In the event of a dispatch three members will typically respond. In the event of a life threatening injury five members are dispatched.
11 year veteran dispatcher, Tali Merewitz explains the importance of her role at Hatzolah, “Staying calm in the midst of an emergency is a crucial part of my job. If I lose it, everyone loses. You can’t get emotional”. I know this firsthand because my baby once had breathing problems and I called Hatzolah because I needed to know if we should call an ambulance. The calm and speedy response of the medical personnel that appeared at my front door was the greatest thing ever!”
“Hatzolah, What is the address of your emergency?” The average response time is less than 90 seconds because the Hatzolah volunteers are responding from within the community and are coming from close proximity. Time and again, disaster has been averted. Hatzolah does not replace the need of the ambulance service but it is a life- saving bridge that fills the crucial minutes until 911 services arrive on the scene.
People are rarely thinking clearly when they dial for help; fear and anxiety have a way of clouding our judgment. It is the dispatcher’s calm, collected, and confident voice on the other end of the phone that can turn hysteria into practicality. This saves lives and minimizes hospital visits. Perhaps only 15% of the calls made to Hatzolah are life threatening events, but in any medical incident, families have unlimited benefits from calling a competent medical professional. Los Angeles joins the Hatzolah communities of Israel, New York, Canada, the UK, South Africa, Argentina, much of Europe and more.
With any emergency health issue, the Hatzolah dispatcher will advise the caller to contact 911, and Hatzolah will also place a 911 call to be sure that emergency care reaches the scene. The limitation of the 911 service is that it can sometimes take up to 10 minutes to reach an operator and more than 15 minutes from the call being placed to the time that 911 help arrives. If the event is a choking or a heart attack, Chas vashalom, the delay can lead to an unnecessary fatality.
Hatzolah medics are certified by the Los Angeles County EMS Agency as Emergency Medical Technicians. All Hatzolah members are equipped with life-saving equipment including oxygen, airway management devices, trauma management accessories and Automatic External Defibrillators. It was well-trained Hatzolah members who were among the first responders to the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
There are more than 100 Hatzolah personnel in Los Angeles and they donate their time knowing this chessed will help ensure the well-being and safety of the communities that Hatzolah serves. Although the staff are volunteers, there is no charge for a Hatzolah call, so fundraising is an important element of the organization.
On March 10th at 6.30pm, Hatzolah will be hosting a tribute dinner, honoring Dr. and Dr. Alan Dauer and Mr and Mrs Yoey Schochet. Rabbi Benjamin Geiger is Executive Director of Hatzolah of Los Angeles and explained, “This year, Hatzolah is in need of more than 100 radio upgrades and funds are limited. Hatzolah also needs funding for new emergency equipment. The better our equipment, the better is our ability to help. This is one of the goals of our tribute dinner.”
FOR INFORMATION OR TO MAKE A RESERVATION CALL 323-937-0980. If you are interested in supporting or joining Hatzolah, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.hatzolahofla.org.