Volunteers from United Hatzalah of Ukraine together with local first responders and Oxford Medical held a mass-casualty incident (MCI) training drill in Uman in a building located close to the gravesite of Rebbe Nachman. The drill, which took place on Thursday morning, was designed to allow first responders from the city and beyond to work together prior to the arrival of the tens-of-thousands of visitors expected in the city for Rosh Hashanah.

The drill simulated a fire breaking out in an apartment building and rescue teams had to evacuate and treat hundreds of patients who suffered smoke inhalation and mild burns. The drill came just one day after volunteer EMTs from the organization treated ten tourists for smoke inhalation after a fire broke out in a hotel near the city of Uman.

“We hope we never have to use the skills we learn during these drills,” said Aharon Ben Harush, chief operations officer for United Hatzalah in Uman. “However, should these skills be necessary, it is important that we know how our team of first responders will work with the staff from the medical clinic as well as the local fire department and police force in order to ensure the safety of those who come to visit Uman over the holiday. Drills such as these, sharpen our skills and help us get to know the other responders and agencies who we will be working with during a large scale crisis should one occur.”

Yisroel Starick who runs the United Hatzala team in Uman year-round said: “The drill that we held today was based on a scenario that could very much happen during Rosh Hashanah which is less than three weeks away. Our volunteers worked together with the Fire Department, local police and the medical clinic in order to quickly evacuate and treat the injured. The drill was a success as we were able to work together well. Should such an emergency occur, God forbid, everyone will know exactly who they are working with and things will flow much faster and smoother.”