Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Israeli-trained EMTs help in apartment collapse

An apartment building in Surfside, Fla., partially collapsed early this morning, killing at least one resident and injuring others. The incident also sent first responders from Hatzalah of South Florida racing to the scene, some of whom received training from Magen David Adom specifically about responding to multi-casualty incidents like this morning’s disaster.

Michael Strongin, an MDA paramedic currently volunteering for Hatzalah of South Florida until he returns to Israel next year, described a scene of utter devastation.

“Half the building is missing and you can see in detail the life and homes of people who lived in the building, including couches hanging over the precipice of what was once their living room,” he said.

In a relationship that goes back years, MDA regularly trains members of U.S-based hatzalah organizations, medical first-responder teams that serve Jewish communities in major American cities. Conversely, American hatzalah volunteers will often serve as EMTs with MDA when Israel is facing a crisis, such as during last month’s rocket attacks.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to all the people of Surfside affected by today’s tragedy,” said Eli Bin, director-general of Magen David Adom. “And our thoughts too are with our colleagues at Hatzalah of South Florida, who have been so supportive of us during our times of crisis. MDA looks forward to assisting you in any way we can.”


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