On Wednesday evening as the sun was setting over the city, United Hatzalah Beit Shemesh Eli Beer Hatzalah of Israel inaugurated 30 new emergency electric bicycles that will be spread throughout Jerusalem. The inauguration took place in the presence of the guests of Chief Rabbi of Moscow, Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and Minister of the Environment and Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage MK Ze’ev Elkin.
The rescue bicycles are outfitted with lights and sirens as well as a box on the back that contains all of the medical supplies that are found on an ambulance with the exception of a stretcher or bed. This equipment enables first response volunteers to ride these rescue bicycles through the crowded streets and narrow alleyways of Jerusalem in both the new and old city and to arrive and begin treatment as quickly as possible at the scene of a medical emergency.
President and Founder of United Hatzalah, Eli Beer, who last year received the award for lifesaving innovation from the Council of European Rabbis (CER), explained how United Hatzalah began and flourished in Israel’s capital prior to it becoming a national organization. “Here we learned that we needed to create a network of first response volunteers who would begin the chain of survival by beginning medical intervention and treatment at any emergency even prior to the arrival of an ambulance.”
Vice President Eli Pollack added: “The majority of the bicycles that are being inaugurated this evening will serve our volunteers across Jerusalem and I am certain that they will assist in saving lives. They will be utilized by our EMTs, paramedics and doctors who live in congested areas with narrow streets and alleyways. In many of these places, even an ambucycle isn't practical. We, therefore, are bringing a new lifesaving vehicle to the streets to provide a faster response in these areas.”
Rabbi Goldschmidt spoke at the event and conveyed to the crowd how proud he, as the head of CER, is of the organization and its achievements, both in Israel and abroad.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat spoke in front of the gathered crowd and said: “I personally have seen United Hatzalah in many instances arrive before anyone else in order to save lives. By utilizing a simple idea, you have succeeded at beating everyone to an emergency to provide first aid and medical treatment. For years you have been doing this with the help of motorcycles and now you are including electric bicycles to your fleet. On behalf of the thousands of residents of Jerusalem, I want to thank you for the initiative and for saving lives.”
Minister of the Environment and of Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Ze’ev Elkin also addressed the crowd and said: “As I am standing here, I see how United Hatzalah, which began as a small Jerusalem initiative, has grown into an international organization that provides emergency first response to all medical incidents. Today, we are inaugurating 30 new bicycles that will be used to save lives. This is just another example showing that you know how to act wisely and recognize the potential good that other organizations may simply overlook, in order that you should succeed at being the first to arrive at any life-threatening situation. This capacity, to continually think outside of the box, is something that it is impossible to not admire.”