Magen David Adom dedicates dispatch center that can withstand chemical attack
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Magen David Adom dedicates dispatch center that can withstand chemical attack

New reinforced facility designed to be able to send out first responders even if it comes under direct attack in wartime

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, right,  at the dedication ceremony for a new Magen David Adom emergency services dispatch center which is protected against missile, chemical, and biological attacks, February 25, 2019. (MDA spokesperson)
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, right, at the dedication ceremony for a new Magen David Adom emergency services dispatch center which is protected against missile, chemical, and biological attacks, February 25, 2019. (MDA spokesperson)

Magen David Adom, Israel’s national emergency medicine service, on Monday dedicated a new bomb-proof National Operations Center, designed to continue operating even if it comes under attack from a range of conventional and non-conventional weapons.

The center is housed “in a reinforced and partially subterranean facility designed to be protected against missile, chemical, and biological attack,” MDA said in a statement.

It was built beneath the previous dispatch center, in the central city of Kiryat Ono, near Tel Aviv. The lower floor of the building was extensively renovated to be reinforced and fitted with an air-filtration system to guard against various kinds of attacks, the statement said.

“The move to a protected dispatch facility is one of several initiatives Magen David Adom has undertaken in recent years to reduce the disruptions Israel’s emergency medical services would have to contend with in the event of a war,” MDA said.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon attended the dedication ceremony for the center, which began operations on February 2.

Two of MDA’s nine national dispatch centers, serving the Yarkon and Ayalon regions, are operating from the new dispatch facility.

Eli Bin, MDA’s director-general, explained that his organization needs to able to operate under all circumstances.

“As the nation’s emergency medical service, blood-services, and disaster-relief agency, we need to prepare for virtually every scenario,” he said. “When our services will be most critically needed, like during a war, it’s especially important that our dispatch operations not be compromised.”

Israel faces the threat of missile attacks from the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group as well as the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip. Both organizations are believed to have stockpiles of thousands of rockets, including some with the range to hit Israel’s central region, and both have targeted major Israeli cities in previous bouts of fighting.

On Sunday the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group in Gaza boasted that it had developed a new missile that can hit beyond Tel Aviv, threatening to turn Israeli cities into “hell.”

MDA has a fleet of 1,100 of its own ambulances, 25,000 emergency paramedics and more than 8,500 first responders, including some that come from 17 independent rescue organizations, the statement said.

The organization is also in the process of constructing a reinforced blood services center in Ramla, which will also be protected against attacks. The blood facility is scheduled to be completed in late 2020, MDA said.

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