Firefighters Beyond Borders
In 2013 seven firefighters embed with their professional counterparts in Israel for two weeks. In October of 2015, the Fire Foundation brought four top ranking Israeli emergency responders to the region. See the Nancy Ben Asher-Ozeri story in the Arizona Jewish Post http://azjewishpost.com/
Fire Foundation Board member Esther Sherberg said, “this is a program that must continue”…
The impact these two delegations have had has benefited our local triage, active shooter, mass casualty, incident management and terror training in ways that civilians may never see.
The Firefighters Beyond Borders initiative has also impacted the hearts and minds of so many that wear the same uniform with different badges, and in different languages, who all love and serve their communities – there are no borders, boundaries or politics in our first responders. We have been given a unique opportunity to continue this program.
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The Greater Tucson Fire Foundation – Firefighters Without Borders – Delegation to Israel
In 2013, the Foundation – in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, Weintraub Israel Center and the Jewish Community Foundation – sponsored a professional cultural-exchange delegation to Israel. The initiative sent seven Tucson-area firefighters from five regional agencies to embed with their professional counterparts on a 12-day mission.
Firefighters Without Borders: Arizona-Israel
included training and observation exercises with Israeli Defense Forces Home Front Command; Israel Fire and Rescue; and Magen David Adom (Israel’s national ambulance, EMS, disaster-relief and blood-bank service.)
The delegation also met with numerous volunteer emergency-response support groups and personnel – including Trauma Coalition teams, Zakah, and many others – regarding natural and man-made disasters, border and national security, medical response, urban fire training, and terrorist attacks.
The delegation joined their counterparts in locations across Israel, including Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. They toured the Golan Heights and the Syrian and Lebanese borders — and participated in a memorial ceremony in the Mount Carmel Forest, planting trees in honor of three firefighters who lost their lives battling the nation’s worst forest fire.
The arson-set wildfire, which claimed the lives of 44 individuals in 2010, prompted a complete reform of Israel’s fire service in 2012. Those reforms resulted in nationalizing what had previously been an underfunded regional fire response, increasing training in wildland fire operations, and creating a new aerial firefighting unit under the command of the Israeli Air Force.
Exchange of information and ideas
Many topics applicable to fire agencies were explored, including training methods and triage systems; preparedness and planning; incident command structures; and continuum-of-care medical models.
The delegation also examined post-incident recovery for professionals and civilians, as well as prevention and inspection activities.
Additionally, delegates sought out specific information as it pertained to their own departments’ particular objectives, such as: airport emergency systems, diversity programs or rural-area transport protocols.
The Greater Tucson Fire Foundation, in cooperation with our partners, is in the planning stages of a new program to bring command staff from Israel to our region. The project will also involve the Israeli consulate.
The program will be renamed Firefighters Beyond Borders
, in recognition of the diversity of emergencies faced by first responders throughout the world.