The contribution of on-call, volunteer first responders to mass-casualty terrorist attacks in Israel


  • Evan Avraham Alpert, MD
  • Ari M. Lipsky, MD, PhD
  • Navid Daniel Elie, BS
  • Eli Jaffe, EMT-P, PhD



first responders, mass-casualty incident, volunteer


Objective: To describe the contributions of on-call, volunteer first responders to mass-casualty terrorist attacks in Israel during the Second Intifada.

Design: Descriptive study evaluating data obtained from postevent debriefings after 15 terrorist attacks in Israel between 2001 and 2004.

Results: An average of 7.9 deaths (median 7.0, interquartile range [IQR] 2.5-12.5) and 53.8 injuries (median 50.0, IQR 34.0-62.0) occurred in each of these attacks. The average number of volunteers responding to each event was 50.3 (median 43.0, IQR 27.5-55.5). The volunteers were involved in extricating victims from imminent danger, and performing emergent tasks such as bag-valve ventilation, tourniquet application, and intravenous line insertion. They were also integral to the rapid evacuation of casualties from the scene.

Conclusion: On-call, volunteer first responders are an integral part of Israel's emergency medical response to mass-casualty terrorist attacks. This system may be used as a model for the development of similar services worldwide.

Author Biographies

Evan Avraham Alpert, MD

Senior Physician, Department of Emergency Medicine, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel.

Ari M. Lipsky, MD, PhD

Senior Physician, Department of Emergency Medicine, Rambam Health Care Campus, Haifa, Israel.

Navid Daniel Elie, BS

Volunteer Research Assistant, Department of Emergency Medicine, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel.

Eli Jaffe, EMT-P, PhD

Director - PR, Training & FR Division, Magen David Adom, Israel


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How to Cite

Alpert, MD, E. A., A. M. Lipsky, MD, PhD, N. D. Elie, BS, and E. Jaffe, EMT-P, PhD. “The Contribution of on-Call, Volunteer First Responders to Mass-Casualty Terrorist Attacks in Israel”. American Journal of Disaster Medicine, vol. 10, no. 1, Jan. 2015, pp. 35-39, doi:10.5055/ajdm.2015.0186.