The volunteer emergency medical technician dropped the book she was reading, slung her jacket on, fastened her helmet and jumped on her ambucycle, weaving through traffic to reach the accident before the ambulance could make it to the scene through the busy Israeli streets. A United Hatzalah medic, she was responding to one of about 550 calls received each day throughout Israel to provide medical assistance during the time interval between ambulance dispatch and arrival.

United Hatzalah is a volunteer emergency medical first aid organization in Israel that uses over 2,000 medics, paramedics and doctors to administer quick and free medical first response. The non-profit NGO boasts a response time of under 3 minutes, and its current goal is to reduce that time to 90 seconds, everywhere in the country.

Local civilian volunteers regularly leave their personal pursuits to provide life-saving help within the first crucial minutes of an emergency while an ambulance is on its way. The unpaid helpers undergo stringent and continuous medical response education, and carry GPS co-location dispatch technology that finds them, locating the volunteer closest to the emergency scene. United Hatzalah states that its “service is available to all people without regard to race, religion or national origin.”

In Israel, United Hatzalah has come to the rescue of tens of thousands of individuals per year since the organization was launched in 2006. Founder Eli Beer himself is a volunteer medic who has been engaged in emergency medical first aid assistance since 1988 in civil, wartime and terror situations. He is an expert in response to mass casualty events and in GPS-based technology for medical intervention. Beer is working to establish Hatzalah organizations worldwide, deploying his technology model to save lives.