Sunday, September 6, 2009

Special report on today's targil

FEAR NOT, this is only a PRACTICE DRILL.

At 1:00 today police cordoned off the main street of Jerusalem's Machaneh Yehuda open-air market.
Rescuers, first responders, and police all played their part in responding to a mock mega terrorist attack.

Border Police took stock of the situation where plumes of artificial smoke were rising.
Soon small groups of Border Policemen were patrolling up and down busy Jaffa Road in single file, no doubt searching for more bombs or suicide bombers.

Yasam, the special riot police, zipped in and out.

If you enlarge this photo, you can see the new (what I think are called) ambucycles of Magen David Adom.
They have two wheels in front, one in back.

Then the simulated wounded were evacuated to waiting ambulances.

Fortunately sirens were not blaring continually. This I think contributed to the rather calm, albeit serious, atmosphere.

Notice the medic's ritual fringe. Many of Jerusalem's rescue volunteers are religious.

All the wounded had a big tag hung on them.

These Palestinian men looked on, probably while the fruit and vegetable stalls where they work were closed for the two hours of the drill.

Here comes the fire engine.
Everyone has a vest identifying his or her function--medic, paramedic, etc..

Enter the forensic police.

The Magen David Adom van is called Taran, short for Tachanat eru'a rav nifga'im, meaning "station for an event with multiple casualties."
The man in white is a Zaka volunteer. Zaka is the Hebrew acronym for Disaster Victims Identification. These are the haredi (very Orthodox) men who collect the remains of the dead, no matter how small, for proper burial. They deserve a whole separate post.

The social workers and psychologists were sent in from the Jerusalem Municipality.

Thank God, this time the "dead" were but dummies, with black tape keeping their eyes closed.

Plastic arms and legs were scattered on the pavement.

Folding the Zaka body bags.

At the end of two hours of intense activity, the barricades were slid back. The firemen took down their ladder, and the public was free to resume shopping.

Only at the very end were the photojournalists allowed in, after the exercise was over.
The police order was for us, we the public, lachzor lashigra, to return to our normal routine.
This is said very often in Israel and is held to be very important in order to keep one's sanity.


JM said...

Amazing coverage, Dina! I'm surprised they have let you take the photos! As you might guess, I have no idea what is the feeling of living under such a threat, so you've done a great job not letting me forget about it!

DaveM said...

Hi Dina, exercises like this must be so necessary with what has happened in the past. As we only see the real atroscities on the news we can have no idea of the real thing buit it must be so frightening. Thanks for the comment you left.

Hyde DP said...

At least it wasn't for real.

Jew Wishes said...

Wow, Dina! These photos are incredible!

What a visual story.

FA said...

Dina, wow! What a great account of the drill. And what a great reminder to be prepared for any kind of disaster.

Are these planned and advertised? Did you just happen by? We should probably have these in the U.S., too. As we approach the anniversary of September 11 it is a good reminder that we should not get to comfortable.

Dina said...

JM, I am happy you don't have this situation in Portugal.
Yes, no one cared that I took their pictures. I think the police did not let the big TV cameras in just because they would have been in the way and because no civilians were allowed beyond the barriers.
The news tonight said 400 emergency personnel took part in the drill.

DaveM, hi and welcome. Yes, the news said 5 different fatal explosions happened in the market in the not so distant past.

Hyde DP, so true.

Jew Wishes, yes, it's a good slice of life story for Jerusalem.

FA, I heard a brief mention of it on the radio on Friday. This morning I took the bus in as far as possible (before they closed the road) and got into the market before they stopped letting people in. I needed to get educated about these things and wanted to share the experience with my readers.
Oh that's right, you are about to have yet another September 11th anniversary. May you know no more such tragedies.
From time to time we have such drills at various places in the city and in Israel, each with a different scenario.

GG said...

Amazing, tragic, incredible. Beautiful Jerusalem.

richies said...

I can't imagine living with the daily reality that this drill is a needed one. I remember the drills that were carried out in the schools in the U.S. when I was a kid. We would have to crouch under our desks during the drill.

An Arkies Musings

Cloudia said...

Lest we forget.
Inspiring and fearsome.
You opened many eyes today, Dina.

Shalom with Aloha

Cloudia's Comfort Spiral

Yaelian said...

Great informative posting Dina!

Kay said...

This is all so interesting to see and read about until I stop and realize this is something that can easily happen in your part of the world. Then it's chilling. Oh, Dina. Stay safe.

I'm glad your emergency teams are practicing so they'll be ready if anything should happen.

Your coverage of these exercises was fabulous!

Hilda said...

That looks and sounds like a very comprehensive drill. And I know that it is just a drill, but everything still sounds so horrifying to me. I pray that you will not have to experience the real thing any time in the near or far future.

Turquoise Diaries said...

Better to be prepared.. Glad that its only a practice and will remain like that for a very long time...

Anonymous said...

I hope the exercise will never have to be put to the test.

Maggie Ann said...

Thank you for sharing this! It moves the heart doesn't it. Thank God for those with heart to serve in these capacities.

tanzaniancane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tanzaniancane said...

Wow. What a powerful drill. I just randomly came across this blog but am left speechless by this! As a medical student, the first thing that came to my mind as you wrote about the paramedics coming in was, wow the emergency teams are getting some brilliant training. And immediately, I prayed that you wouldn't have to ever put this drill to use.

My safari through medicine...

Dina said...

Shalom everyone, thanks for your good wishes and comments.

Tanzaniancane, welcome! You certainly came by on the right day! Yes, I have great admiration for the medical people. I even worked in a big university hospital for 4 years myself, doctoring words and not people. I am enjoying the enthusiasm in your blog, but I click and click and cannot get a comment box to come up. Is there a problem, or do you have it limited or something?
See you again. Shalom and good luck in med school.

tanzaniancane said...

Greetings Dina,
Thanks for your kind welcome to this fantastic blog! You have to love how procrastination sometimes leads you to great reads. Awesome that you worked at a University Hospital!

Thanks for warning me about the comment boxes. Not quite sure what was wrong but I fixed it. Let me know if you still have trouble!

My safari through medicine...

Pietro said...

I'm very glad the "dead" were dummies. The exercise is useful indeed, but I hope it will remain for ever just an exercise.
About my photo, that funny building is a "residence" (service flats), but I hope you've noticed the bike on the chair lift!!

Leif Hagen said...

Dina - You're like the 5 o'clock live eye witness news reporter! Great coverage photos which really brought us into your world! Like the Boy Scout motto: "Be prepared."

Anonymous said...

I too wish we didn't have a need for such drills. And I'm glad I didn't hear about it, as the mostly silence compared to the earlier years has been a blessing. Though almost all of us have been touched by all those past attacks. The yahrzeit (anniversary of the death) of a good friend of my daughter's comes up soon and my heart breaks for her mother and family - as for many families here in Israel.


Petrea said...

This is quite a post, Dina. We had a huge, county-wide earthquake drill last November but they most definitely let the journalists cover it!