Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel’s national paramedic and blood-donation organization, is applauding a new White House initiative to change how emergency organizations in the U.S. respond to terrorist attacks and mass casualty accidents.
Currently, U.S. first responders are not allowed into incident sites until it can be verified that any perpetrators don’t pose more danger. MDA, on the other hand, sends medical personnel wearing protective gear to treat victims before the area has been secured. The Obama administration announced on the one-year anniversary of the massacre in Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School that it is now advocating a similar approach.
“In bombings, shootings, and other mass-casualty incidents, you have injured civilians who are at risk of bleeding to death if they don’t get immediate medical treatment,” Eli Bin, MDA’s director-general, said in a statement. “Time is crucial and makes a dramatic difference in survival rates.”
“Sure, there are risks to your paramedics,” said Guy Caspi, head of MDA’s mass-casualty training. “But the risk to civilians when you wait a half-hour or more before you’re given clearance to treat the wounded is much greater.”