Baltimore City’s Leadership Honors Hatzalah in Downtown Press Conference


baltimore-hatzolahOn Tuesday, in a unique event for Baltimore’s frum community, Baltimore City’s leadership hailed this city’s Hatzalah organization as a prime example of what happens when the city and its people work together to improve life and health for everyone.Fire Chief Jim Clack opened the ceremony by hailing Hatzalah’s cooperative relationship with city offices. He, Councilwoman Rikki Spector, and Avraham Sauer went to New York several years ago to view that city’s Hatzalah services in action. Highly impressed with what they saw, they returned determined to make this happen in Baltimore.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, City Council President at the time, heard of the idea and encouraged then Mayor Sheila Dixon to support the group’s efforts in any way possible. Mayor Rawlings-Blake and Council President Young both expressed their pride at how much the group had accomplished in such a short time.

The event was held to highlight a huge accomplishment for Hatzalah – the acquisition of two Emergency Medical Services vehicles, fully equipped, to serve the citizens of Northwest Baltimore.

The Mayor described how Hatzalah has already saved many lives and how, now with its new equipment and larger force, will be able to do even more. In a time of budget constraints, even though the city has tried to keep its emergency services in tact, the Mayor reminded everyone of how important it is for citizens to step up and become involved.

Manny Topper, a leader of Hatzalah, expressed the group’s deepest appreciation for the city’s support. Hatzalah trainees did ride-alongs on city ambulances as part of their education, and still do so. Fire Chief Clack, he stated, is always available for advice and information, and even the city’s communication infrastructure, manned by many city employees, has been exceedingly helpful in making Hatzalah successful.

Hatzalah is an effective public private partnership improving quality of life in Baltimore. In addition to emergency medical services, the two newly purchased and highly sophisticated ambulances assist the Hatzalah volunteers in accomplishing this goal.

The Mayor told a brief story of a man that Hatzalah saved several months ago, arriving two and a half minutes after his wife called them. He had suffered a severe allergic reaction to his medication. The Baltimore medics arrived shortly thereafter and took the man to the hospital, but credited the man’s survival to the quick work of Hatzalah.

Baltimore, a city that boasts one of the finest EMS departments in the country, is proud to have citizens that work alongside them to improve health and save lives. It is the hope of many that similar efforts can begin in other parts of the city.

The city’s leadership closed by once again stating how proud they were of the partnership with Hatzalah, and promised to continue to work together in the future. Mayor Rawlings-Blake stated that this effort is an outstanding example of what can happen when citizens stand up to help each other.

Read more at Baltimore Jewish Life.

{Baltimore Jewish Life/