One recent evening as I was visiting my mother-in-law, I was suddenly alerted to a mass-casualty incident in the region resulting from a violent feud between clans. I apologized to my mother-in-law, rushed out to my motorcycle, and started riding to the scene, using local roads to avoid highway traffic.
As I approached the location of the incident, I hit heavy traffic caused by police cordoning off the area. Fortunately I was on the ambucycle I’d just received from United Hatzalah, enabling me to ride between the cars and reach the patients in just a few moments. It took less than three minutes for me to get to them after first receiving the alert.
The scene was chaotic. After taking stock of my surroundings to make sure the area was safe, I quickly assessed the situation and saw four people who suffered injuries. As the first responder on scene, I triaged the four victims, all lying on the ground, and began treating the one who looked like he needed help the most.
The first patient was semiconscious. Luckily I detected respiratory activity, so I raised his legs to increase the flow of oxygenated blood to his brain. Moments later he regained consciousness. I then attended to another victim who had been stabbed in the stomach. I put pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding, then bandaged the wound and administered supplemental oxygen. As the man had lost a fair amount of blood, I opened an IV line to replenish his vital fluids.
With that patient now stable, I turned my attention to a third victim, who had been shot in the hand. I wiped away the blood and found the wound was only superficial, as the bullet had not pierced the bone. I quickly bandaged his hand and moved on to the fourth victim, an older man with a head injury. The wound was minor but still bleeding, so I bandaged it and focused on helping him deal with shock, which was a greater cause for concern than his physical injury. I guided him through breathing exercises to calm him down.
I reassured all four of the traumatized victims and monitored their conditions until the ambulances finally arrived nearly 30 minutes later. I briefed the crews and helped transfer the victims.
As a nature lover, I enjoy being outdoors. I drive a Jeep and am often in the fields. That’s why United Hatzalah is a great fit for me: I get to help people and stay active. I became a volunteer EMT after encountering emergencies in those fields, in forests, and on hiking trails. Until I became an EMT and United Hatzalah gave me the equipment I need to do the job effectively, I wasn’t able to respond properly to off-road emergencies. Sometimes I had no idea what to do. But now I can use my hobby and skill set to help people wherever I am.
It didn’t sit well with me that when emergencies would happen in remote outdoor settings, patients would often wait for hours for an ambulance crew or helicopter to arrive. Now that I’m an EMT, patients near me get critical emergency care faster.
Hasan Masri is a lifeguard by profession and a volunteer EMT with United Hatzalah. He lives in Zemer and is one of the organization’s ambucycle drivers. Masri has been involved in EMS for many years.