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Volunteers

Responder profile: Robyn Kahlberg

  1. My passion and privilege is doing community work and with my medical background, I have a love for the medical field. This, coupled with a desire to extend myself and grow beyond my comfort zone, made Hatzolah the obvious choice. In fact it felt like a calling for me, so when the opportunity arose to join the organisation, it was not to be missed.
  2. I am a volunteer dispatcher
  3. It is truly an honour and an immense blessing to be a part of the Hatzolah team. It is at once daunting, exciting and always humbling working for such an incredible organisation that provides a vital service to the community. Commitment and no small measure of courage are required to step up to the extremely high standards practiced within Hatzolah.
  4. Hatzolah is well known for it's quick response times and excellent care and treatment of patients. However, more than this, what makes Hatzolah unique is that with everyone in the organisation being Jewish, it is indeed a supportive, special family unit from whom to learn and be enriched. From the fundraising team to office staff to board members, drivers, responders and dispatchers, this is an inspiring group of people, all with the common goal of saving lives, Jewish and non-Jewish alike.

    What also makes Hatzolah stand out is the unstinting appreciation shown to staff members and spouses, who are spoilt with gifts and dinners.

  5. It is with enormous gratitude that I do this meaningful and rewarding work for Hatzolah. Being on the other end of the line and available to assist people in need is ample motivation to continue.
  6. I am constantly in awe of this team of Menschen, who operate at the highest levels of dedication and professionalism. May Hashem bless all at Hatzolah for continued growth, success and the ability to perform such important work.
 

Responder profile: Adam Shapiro

I wanted to do my bit to help the community and there was no better way to do this than to be part of a community based organisation such as Hatzolah.

I underwent three months of intensive training to become a BLS practitioner and continue to hone new skills by attending monthly training sessions. The knowledge I have gained through my in-depth training has given me the tools to deal with potentially life-threatening situations.

To be able to wear the uniform and serve the broader Johannesburg Jewish community through my work at Hatzolah is an absolute privilege. I try to respond to as many calls as possible even if they are outside of my bi-monthly shifts.

One of the most interesting trauma calls I attended to was at a bar in the Sandton area, where a young woman had fallen through a glass door. I have no doubt that our team saved her life that day.

I’ll also never forget my first ever Hatzolah call, where a patient started to have a seizure at a wedding. Luckily another team member and I were on the scene and managed to stabilise the patient until the ambulance arrived. That very first time when you’ve realise that you’ve saved someone’s live is an amazing feeling.

 

Responder profile: Yonah Emanuel

During my school years, I would look out the window and see Hatzolah’s ambulance and its team pass by. Knowing the amazing work they did to help the community gave me the spark I needed to join Hatzolah and fulfil the mitzvah of helping the community.

I completed my BLS training over 4 months and every month I partake in Hatzolah’s in-house training to keep up my knowledge and skills. Since I qualified, I’ve also done an International Trauma Life Support course, as well as a Disaster Management course run by Hatzolah.

In 2014 I also completed an Intermediate Life Support Paramedics course through an outside training facility and registered as an Intermediate Life Support paramedic (ILS) at the beginning of 2015.

Hatzolah has given me a sense of purpose. There is nothing quite like helping a person in need even if it is just for something small. Sometimes it’s just being able to calm a family is in distress by reassuring them that their dear loved one is going to be fine.

And of course, there is also nothing more rewarding than to use my skills successfully and get a patient to hospital on time knowing that I’ve done all that was needed to help save a life.

 

Responder profile: Josh Green

I was inspired to join Hatzolah out of a deep passion to give back to the community and to be involved in EMS. I went through the many months of training to complete my BAA which included lectures, practical training and working with government services to gain additional experience.

To maintain my training, I also attend mandatory internal training on a monthly basis and attend to emergencies during the week on a constant basis. I’ve also recently qualified as an ILS (Intermediate Life Support) medic. The training has not only given me an entire new level of knowledge but also a new group of friends that have a unique bond.

Just being able to help people with the small things is just as rewarding as the big calls I respond to. To be able to treat patients during their last days with care and compassion and to see how at peace they were knowing they were in good hands has been one of the most moving experiences I have had.

My most memorable case is when we managed to resuscitate a patient and get him to hospital. The patient unfortunately passed away a short time after his recovery from some further complications, but just knowing that we managed to give him those extra few days felt good.

 

Responder profile: Clive Breger

What makes Hatzolah different to other emergency services?

Hatzolah is mainly a volunteer organisation, so the responders and dispatchers are extremely passionate, dedicated and committed to assisting members of the community. Thanks to generous donations from members of the community, we have been able to equip the six Hatzolah ambulances with up-to-the-minute, state of the art equipment. Another factor which makes Hatzolah different is that we can respond to calls from any location, as our personal vehicles are fully equipped and well stocked for medical emergencies. This minimises response times and enables us to assist patients in record time.

Describe the most rewarding situation you've ever responded to in your Hatzolah career?

Every call that I have responded to is rewarding in its own way, but one particularly meaningful situation stands out for me personally. I was part of a team involved in the resuscitation of a child after a drowning, and I have had the privilege of observing the ongoing recovery of the child.

 

Responder profile: Craig Stollard

What inspired you to join Hatzolah?

At school I was involved in first aid, which I carried through to my accounting articles where I was part of a group of articled clerks that completed a first aid course. Many years later, there was an MVA (Motor Vehicle Accident) outside my house to which Hatzolah responded. I wanted to help the patients but my ability to do so was quite limited. It was at that time that I decided to join Hatzolah and learn more.

Describe the most rewarding situation you've ever responded to in your Hatzolah career?

There was an emergency that I responded to a few years ago with my ambulance partner Kevin Braun, where an elderly gentleman fell down a flight of stairs. We immediately secured his spine while conducting a patient assessment. He felt that he did not need to go to hospital but in the end he conceded. The X-rays showed that he had fractured one of his cervical vertebrae, which could have been detrimental to him if not taken care of.

 

Responder profile: Joshua Smith

Why did you join Hatzolah?

About three years ago, I was in a very bad cycling accident. At 90km an hour, I hit some sand, missed the turn in the road and ploughed into a wall. I cracked my helmet and sustained only superficial injuries. I was expertly treated by Hatzolah responders and from that day on, I wanted to be able to do for other people what Hatzolah did for me.

What kind of training did you do?

I did a three-month part time [EMS] course and an international trauma life support (ITLS) course as well. Hatzolah runs training on the first Tuesday of every month so that we can maintain our knowledge, learn new skills and better understand difficult topics. Hatzolah also has a brilliant policy about asking your seniors and colleagues questions to improve your knowledge and skills.

 

Dispatcher profile: Tanya Joselowsky

Why did you decide to become a Hatzolah dispatcher?

I love doing charity work. Hatzolah is an organisation where we often get to see the results first hand – selfless volunteers getting out of bed at all hours to respond to people in need, with really quick response times and a lot of genuine love and care for the patient. We get to save people's lives. I feel very privileged to be a part of such a unique organisation.

What are some of the obstacles you face when receiving calls and what suggestions do you have for callers to make the process easier?

Most callers are very distressed at the time of the call. It is often very difficult to extract the relevant details from them at that moment. For example: Sometimes the caller is not aware of the exact address of the patient. This is time-consuming. I would recommend that people educate their staff, colleagues and family members about their exact location. Having a piece of paper in a prominent place that reads: "My address is … the closest cross street is … our telephone number is …" This would be really helpful.

I have also found that we don't always gain access easily to the patient's property. This delays response time. I would recommend that callers make sure that access is possible (e.g. by alerting their guards) once they put down the phone with the Hatzolah.

 

Responder profile: Yosef Shishler

What inspired you to join Hatzolah?

The sheer dedication and selflessness of the Haztolah team has always been an inspiration to me. Once Hatzolah offered its own course under the auspices of an accredited training academy, I answered the calling I'd had since the inception of Hatzolah.

Describe the most rewarding situation you've ever responded to in your Hatzolah career?

There have been many rewarding situations but one particular call remains fresh in my mind. Early one morning we received a call for a respiratory distress situation. The call was around the corner from my house, so I was first on scene. The patient was blue, could not breathe properly or talk, and kept losing consciousness. This was a life-threatening situation. Thankfully, owing to the training I've received, I was able to adequately treat the patient. By the time we were ready to transport the patient to hospital, he had regained consciousness and colour, was able to speak and breathe normally.