Senior Magen David Adom paramedics were hosted by the Berlin Fire and Rescue Organization who provides emergency medicine services (EMS) in the city. During the visit, two MDA paramedics joined the city’s rescue teams for five days and participated in basic and advanced life support ambulance rides along with local paramedics and doctors. Additionally, participants visited the Berlin Fire Department’s paramedics’ training school, where they witnessed drills and classes. They also toured the Berlin dispatch center, at which all emergency calls (apart from calls to the police) emanating from Berlin and its surroundings are received.

The delegation arrived in Berlin as part of the collaboration of Magen David Adom with rescue organizations in Germany which began roughly a year ago following European’s Projects in which MDA and the Berlin Emergency Organization participated. Since then, the collaboration between the organizations developed and a paramedic from Berlin even arrived in Israel to train with MDA. This paramedic was involved in responding to a tragic car accident in Jerusalem, and with his return to Berlin, was one of the first to respond to the Berlin car-ramming attack that took place in a Christmas market.

The Berlin rescue service operates 120 ambulances and mobile intensive care units that serve the city’s 3.8 million residents and tend to cases of similar nature to those MDA deals with in Israel such cardiac emergencies, resuscitations, trauma, respiratory emergencies, pediatric cases, etc.

Amit Ackerman, Senior MDA paramedic and Chief Instructor of the MDA Paramedics’ School: “The visit to the Berlin Firefighting and rescue organization was a special experience. We watched the paramedics’ training process, the capabilities of paramedics and their methods of work. As Chief Instructor of the MDA Paramedics’ School, I was exposed to different perspectives and methods of work than those found within our organization, I learned and drew lessons and ideas that we can implement within MDA. The city’s rescue system includes 120 ambulances and mobile intensive care units that serve 3.8 residents. The fact that a rescue system of this size wants to learn from Magen David Adom, indicates how well our organization operates.”

Eldad Benstein, Senior MDA paramedic and Instructor who participated in the delegation: “The visit to the Berlin Firefighting and rescue organization was significant to me. Beyond learning and being exposed to methods of work, and advanced equipment, the organizational structure and various protocols, it was especially emotional for me, as a descendent of a family who fought in the Red Soviet Army and part of it perished in the Holocaust. The building in which the Berlin paramedics’ school is located, used to act as a Nazi army base. The privilege granted to me, to stand in a 70-year-old building in which Nazis used to operate, seeking to destroy my family, wearing the uniform of the Israeli, national EMS organization and its symbols, makes me tremendously proud.”

MDA Director General, Eli Bin: “The relationship and collaboration between MDA and the different EMS organizations is founded on a deep, extended friendship and is of utmost importance. Our ability to contribute and receive knowledge, to teach and learn from parallel organizations worldwide, is essential to our lifesaving efforts in Israel and abroad. All organizations believe, first and foremost, in saving lives, and we all speak the same language when it comes to those principles. We were lucky to host and be hosted by rescue and EMS services in Germany and to form a collaboration in purpose of learning from one another. I would like to thank the Berlin Firefighting and Rescue organization for their enriching collaboration. MDA will continue to contribute from its knowledge and skills to anyone who seeks it and assist to saving lives around the world.”