United Hatzalah of Israel working in conjunction with El Al Airlines has begun preparations to send a team from its Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit to provide psychological support and stabilization to the families and neighbors of those injured, killed, or affected by the tragedy that occurred in Surfside Florida. The team’s mission will be to assist the community in Surfside and those affected by the collapse of a residential condo that has claimed the life of at least one person and left nearly 100 missing.
The team of psychological first aid experts will be composed of top members of the organization’s Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit (PCRU) and will assist the families of those who were killed, injured, and missing, in the collapse. They will also make themselves available to members of the Miami community by providing psychological and emotional stabilization and treatment to those who need it in the wake of the incident.
The team will be utilizing techniques and tools developed in Israel which have proven to be highly successful in assisting those who have suffered from similar incidents. The United Hatzalah delegation is being flown to Miami by EL AL Israel Airlines who have graciously partnered in this effort. They are scheduled to arrive in Surfside on Sunday, June 27th.
The unit will be led by Dov Maisel, the Vice President of Operations for United Hatzalah, and a paramedic, who has led disaster response missions to Nepal, Haiti, and Japan. Maisel will partner with Einat Kaufman, who serves as the Clinical Operations Director of the PCRU. Kauffman, in addition to being a trained EMT, is one of the top Cognitive Psychotherapists in Israel, and an expert in trauma, grief, and bereavement especially when concerned with mass casualty incidents. She as well as other members of the unit have taken part in several missions as psychological first aid responders, including the missions from United Hatzalah following Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and the Tree Of Life mass shooting that took place in Pittsburgh.
Most recently, Maisel and Kauffman led the PCRU and United Hatzalah’s medical team in providing support at the Meron tragedy in Israel, to both the injured, bereaved, and to the first responders themselves who were present at the incident and were traumatized as a result.
Eli Beer, President and Founder of United Hatzalah, spoke about the preparations and thanked EL AL for their partnership in getting the mission off the ground. “As soon as the collapse occurred, we began preparations for the mission to depart. When we contacted EL AL they were eager to help and transport the team to Florida.”
EL AL CEO, Avigal Soreq commented, “This partnership with United Hatzalah is natural for EL AL. Our 73 years of history are replete with all types of rescue and crisis missions, and we are honored to assist in any way we can.”
Mr. Beer continued, “This will be the fourth emergency relief mission conducted by our Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit in the United States in as many years. EL AL is an incredible partner, and we are forever grateful for their support of this mission.
I myself was the benefactor of the kindness of the entire South Florida community during my fight with Covid-19 last year and if I were able to go myself on this mission I would. We stand with you, and we are sending you the best of the best to help.”