The unit recently carried out a five-day exercise, preparing soldiers to confront emergency scenarios
The firefighting unit of the Home Front Command's Central District recently carried out a five-day exercise designed to prepare its soldiers to respond to emergency scenarios. The first days of the exercise were devoted to technical and theoretical information and a basic drill. Then came the heart of the exercise: a concluding drill held in the city of Kfar Saba, in which the soldiers rescued people "trapped" as a result of a car accident and battled forest fires at two different points.
In the first scenario, the crew encountered an overturned truck, which threatened to crush people trapped under it. "The crew lifted the truck and pulled the people out," Cpt. (res.) Dan Yosefsberg, the unit's commander, told the IDF website. "Of course, everything sounds simple, but in reality this is a very complex and dangerous rescue, which demands professionalism and great care."
Later, the soldiers practiced combating a fire. "In this part of the exercise, we examined how [the soldiers] operate with the pump, and we tested how the crew advanced to control and neutralize [the fire], just as they are supposed to," explained Cpt. Yosefsberg.
The exercise came nearly two years after the 2010 forest fire on Mount Carmel, in which 44 Israelis died. In the wake of that event, the IDF has implemented substantial changes so as to prepare for fires and other natural disasters.
As part of the lessons of the Carmel fire, the IDF's firefighters have been outfitted with new equipment, and the IDF has increased the amount of training required of these soldiers. "Following the disaster [the Mount Carmel fire], a personal protective shield was purchased to protect the firefighters. This equipment is the newest and the best, and it serves all of us," said the unit commander. "Furthermore, there is an essential change in the level of training and the techniques of training. If previously a third of the unit would carry out a drill once a year, this year all of the soldiers of the District arrived for a five-day drill."
Staff Sgt. (res.) Yisrael Ashkenazi, a volunteer reservist who served as a noncommissioned officer in the IAF's aerial firefighting unit until 2006, expressed satisfaction with the quality of the drill. He recounted that at the beginning of the exercise, "we received all of the uniforms, protective kits, and equipment, and everything was flawless and in good condition." He added, "The equipment had been changed from A to Z, and they spared no effort in reviewing the information and in theoretical knowledge, and I felt a great deal of confidence from the beginning."
"This is the most serious exercise in which I have taken part [as a reservist], mostly because we were a small and disciplined staff," added Staff Sgt. (res.) Ashkenazi.