Facing Threat of Chemical Warfare, IDF Prepares for the Worst

The IDF Home Front Command recently conducted a unique medical exercise preparing soldiers and civilians in the event of a chemical attack on Israeli population centers.

Last month, the IDF Home Front command, in line with its practice of being prepared for any scenario, staged mock casualties of a chemical attack. On a Thursday afternoon, they closed a country club in Kfar Saba, in the Tel Aviv district, where they conducted a unique exercise, beginning with a chemical rocket landing near the facility, which would be filled with people.  Several would be wounded, followed by the creation of a chemical warfare substance – a cloud-like gas which, if spread, could leave hundreds more injured.

Within minutes of the mock rocket landing, Magen David Adom (MDA) paramedics, hospital staff, Health Ministry personnel, municipal officials and the Home Front Command’s medical and rescue soldiers arrived at the scene. The wounded were taken to shower in the club in order to remove any remnants of gas from their bodies, and each victim was medically assessed.

Those classified as lightly wounded remained in the club. “The ETC (Examination and Treatment Center) is set up in just a number of hours,” explained Col. MD Eyal Furman. “It starts operating the moment we arrive. We provide the best possible treatment to those lightly wounded, so that they do not have to be treated in a crowded hospital.”

At the country club-turned-ETC, paramedics and doctors were ready to treat the wounded, psychologists treated trauma victims, and hospital workers dealt with registration and medical records.

IDF prepares for chemical warfare

Staging mock evacuation of victims of chemical attack. (IDF)

Those “seriously injured” were evacuated to Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba. “A victim sent here goes through two processes, purification and treatment, before entering the hospital,” explained Furman. “The purification includes the process of washing the material from the body and from the clothing. The treatment includes applying material that counteracts the poisonous gas. Additionally, there’s treatment for those struggling with shortness of breath.”

“A situation can arise where one is too wounded to go through the purification process. We therefore have a station with people who stabilize the wounded. First, we treat the immediate wound, and only after do we clean it,” he added.

IDF chemical warfare

Paramedics treating mock victim (IDF)

In a related exercise, IDF forces learn how to deal with the effects of nerve gas, which destroys the body’s nervous system and could be fatal.

Preliminary treatment includes Fuller’s Earth, a powder that absorbs the gas, as well as an extensive cleansing of the body with water. In the most critical cases, the treatment requires the periodic application of different materials to neutralize the gas.

Terror is all over the world, and we have to be ready,” Furman stated.

By: IDF Blog and United with Israel Staff

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