Eli Beer: The fastest ambulance? A motorcycle.
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🔝 Today’s Featured Story
Eli Beer was 6 years old when he saw a bus blow up in front of his eyes on his way back from school, in his small neighbourhood in Jerusalem. He saw an old man crying out for help, but he was scared and ran home. He later resolved to become a doctor and save lives when he grew up.
When he was 15, he started volunteering as an EMT on an ambulance. He began to notice a major problem: ambulances would get stuck in traffic, and by the time they got to the patient it would be too late. Thousands of lives could be saved if people could only get to the scene of the accident sooner.
At 17, he mobilized a group of friends to work as volunteers, and asked the local ambulance service to alert them to calls, using beepers, so they could stabilise the patient until the ambulance arrived. Needless to say, he was laughed at and told to try open a falafel stand instead.
Undeterred, Eli got hold of two police scanners, and tuned in to the ambulance radio. When an old man was caught in accident a block away from him, he ran to the scene and managed to stop the blood pouring out the man’s neck using his kippah (skullcap). He saved this man’s life and the idea for United Hatzalah was born.
Today, United Hatzalah uses a smartphone app, thousands of passionate volunteers, and a fleet of ‘ambucycles’ to help nearby patients until an ambulance arrives. With an average response time of 3 minutes, they are saving thousands of lives in Israel each year.