Fastest Response Times in the World

On June 15, 1992, the U.S. News and World Report reported in its cover story that: “The best indicator of performance is ‘standard response time’--how long it takes an ambulance to respond in 90 percent of the calls--but many offices are not this exact. Residents of cities where response times exceed nine minutes may want to look into private or volunteer ambulance services. The Hatzoloh ambulance service, which covers most of New York City, boasts response times of 2 1/2 to four minutes, compared with the city's 911-dispatched median arrival time of about nine minutes. Run by a small group of Orthodox Jews, Hatzoloh--Hebrew for rescue--is one of the largest U.S. volunteer ambulance services.”

Two-Tiered Response System

Hatzalah’s two-tiered response strategy, using First Responders and ambulances, means that fully equipped and trained emergency care providers are at the scene within two to four minutes:

  • Hatzalah first dispatches volunteers to the scene of an emergency in Emergency Ambulance Service Vehicles. These privately owned vehicles are equipped with appropriate emergency lighting and carry a full complement of life-saving medical equipment. The First Responders are primarily NYS-certified Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT), but may include paramedics or other volunteers who are trained to provide Advanced Life Support. When necessary, first responders can quickly upgrade the level of care by requesting paramedics or other Advanced Life Support providers. Volunteers call physicians for advice, direction and medical control as needed. They can also request appropriate assistance from City and State Agencies.
  • As soon as the First Responders are sent to the patient or accident scene, other volunteers are dispatched to bring one or more of Hatzalah’s ambulances.
  • En route to the hospital, volunteers contact the hospital emergency room to provide the hospital staff with critical data that will prepare them for the new patient. In critical cases, the emergency room will be put on “standby”, which means that emergency room nurses and physicians will be waiting at the door to immediately render aid upon their arrival.
  • Hatzalah has direct links to Medivac helicopters for patients in special circumstances.

Fire and Police Departments

In a mass casualty incident (MCI), or when patients are trapped in vehicles or in burning or collapsing buildings, our dispatchers are able to instantly access the appropriate resources of the City of New York or the State. In order to coordinate professional care at all mass casualty incidents, Hatzalah participates in joint exercises with City, State and other emergency medical providers.

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