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On Wednesday, Nov. 1, at 7:30 pm the  Rady JCC and the local chapter of Canadian Magen David Adom (CMDA) will present Israeli medic Daniel Amzallag speaking on how Magen David Adom responds to  mass casualty incidents.

Amazllag will be speaking in the Berney Theatre at the Asper Campus. Sadly, his appearance here is even timelier, as more such incidents seem to be happening around the world. So, it is wise to be prepared - wherever you live.

Among other things, CMDA works to raise funds to save lives by sending ambulances and other needed medical equipment to Israel.

Many people in Winnipeg and beyond have had a direct hand in saving thousands of lives in Israel and beyond by donating their time and volunteering, as well as via contributing funds to CMDA and/beyond.

Daniel Amzallag, who knows all too well about mass casualty incidents, having been a victim of such an attack in 2002 in Kanyon Arim, Kfar Saba. He was 15-years-old at the time of the incident, and this experience is what spurred him to join Magen David Adom (MDA).

“I was injured in the attack, when a terrorist blew himself up in the shopping center,” said Amzallag of the 2002 Kanyon attack. “Lucky for me, I was not close enough to be severely injured. But, what happened is that I didn’t know enough first aid at the time and I tried to jump from one person to another and do whatever I was ordered to do to stop people from bleeding.

“I really left that event feeling, not only physically, but also emotionally, like, if I knew more, maybe I could have helped and saved more. As soon as I recovered a couple days later, I went to the MDA station in my city and I signed myself up for a first responder course.

“I spent my whole summer vacation doing the course, morning to night. And, after that vacation, I started volunteering as a first responder.”

Starting off as a first responder, Amzallag spent years volunteering and taking medic courses, instructor courses, and intensive care unit courses. And, about nine years ago, he moved to Canada and began volunteering with CMDA – eventually becoming the national media and volunteer coordinator in Canada.

Amzallag’s extensive knowledge and experience had led him to regularly tour and teach all over Canada about mass casualty incident events – events like the suspected terrorist attack that recently occurred in Edmonton, also the mass shooting that happened in Las Vegas, as well as natural disasters, like the hurricanes that have hit Florida, Puerto Rico, and beyond.

“Unfortunately, MDA has a lot of experience with mass casualty incidents, and we are the best in the world in that specific field,” said Amzallag. “And, we are using this opportunity to go out in the world, to events with the general public, hospitals, and local EMS services. And, we train them and give them our experience.

“We do our best to improve their skills and the way they will respond to mass casualty disasters. Of course, in case of a mass disaster anywhere in the world, MDA is also going to send medical teams from Israel, but you want local teams to be prepared.

“For example, a few years ago, the Boston Marathon bombing took place. By coincidence, MDA was in Boston with the local EMS. They had just finished a MDA-led mass casualty training, just two days before the bombing.

“This completely changed the way EMS handled the mass casualties during the marathon bombing that took place two days later.

“On the day of the event, when everything went down, a lot more medics were on the scene than they were supposed to be...the road and access routes, everything was changed two days in advance, because of the MDA training.

“We want the public to be able to help in case of a disaster, to know what to do. Those courses, besides being very interesting, can save lives in case of an emergency.”

At the upcoming November 1st event in Winnipeg, attendees will get a chance to see movie clips from disasters that were handled by MDA, see how teams handle mass casualty incidents, and learn how to prepare themselves and their loved ones for a mass casualty incident.

“It’s very interesting to see how things are operated, behind the scenes, that most people don’t get to see,” said Amzallag. “Also, as I am Canadian Red Cross Instructor, I can connect MDA protocols with Canadian EMS protocols.”

During his Winnipeg visit, Amzallag with also get a chance to visit with Gray Academy of Jewish Education grade 11 and 12 students, to teach them about mass casualty incidents and invite them to volunteer with MDA in Israel.

“We have a program in Israel for Canadians and students from all over the world, for 18-year-olds and over,” said Amzallag. “They can go to Israel – most are fresh out of high school – and participate in a nine-day course. It’s the same course I did when I was fifteen.

“Once they finish the course, they volunteer in different stations across Israel for five weeks. They become members of MDA and get to experience what Israeli volunteers experience.”

Amzallag also organizes a mission to Israel for physicians. The next one is a week-long trip to Israel happening next month, where physicians can train and visit Israeli medical facilities and beyond.

“The next mission will be on November 16th and will include 10-20 Canadian physicians,” said Amzallag. “We’ll expose the physicians to everything MDA is doing, including working on our ambulances in Jerusalem.

“Hopefully, one day, if a disaster were to happen in Israel, there will be physicians all over the world ready to help in Israel with whatever it may need. This could happen in Israel or anywhere else in the world – these physicians could come and help from wherever they live.”

Also next month, the local CMDA chapter will be holding its annual telethon on Sunday, November 5th, toward collecting funds to send more ambulances and save more lives in Israel. For more information and/to volunteer, contact CMDA Wpg’s Daniel Glikman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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