Israel commenced a large-scale emergency exercise this week involving some 400 international emergency representatives from countries and territories including Spain, France, Croatia, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.
The European Union-sponsored Middle East Forest Fire drill, the first exercise of its kind, aims to improve regional and international cooperation in dealing with large fires.
The exercise simulates a forest fire and humanitarian aid scenario that focuses on improving the participants’ professional skills and information-sharing capabilities. The drill also emphasizes the importance of protecting wildlife in emergency scenarios.
“The overall goal of the exercise is for participants to exchange knowledge and attain common capacities, to effectively respond to disaster situations, especially along and across mutual borders,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The drill involves dozens participants from Israeli firefighting, search-and-rescue and medical teams from the country’s Fire and Rescue Services, the IDF Homefront Command, the Israel Police and the Magen David Adom emergency services group.
The Palestinian Authority sent three teams of 45 firefighters and six fire trucks to participate in the drill, while Jordan is reportedly conducting its own smaller drill in parallel with the Israeli-hosted exercise.