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Four years after Poway attack, Israeli paramedics train California synagogue staff

“It was especially meaningful to be here at Chabad of Poway, and we pray this community never has to face another tragedy,” said Magen David Adom senior paramedic Raphael Herbst.

Staff members and attendees of Chabad of Poway, Calif., attend an emergency-services training seminar sponsored by Magen David Adom. Credit: MDA.
Staff members and attendees of Chabad of Poway, Calif., attend an emergency-services training seminar sponsored by Magen David Adom. Credit: MDA.

Four years after a gunman killed one person and injured three others at Chabad of Poway, Calif., on Passover, senior Magen David Adom paramedics are conducting training sessions at synagogues in seven California cities, including Poway.

The training, according to a news release, centers on saving lives immediately after a terror attack—particularly in the first seven minutes, prior to the arrival of first-responding emergency personnel. Magen David Adom is Israel’s national rescue organization, which operates as the state’s “national Red Cross Society.”

The classes begin with 90-minute lectures, followed by drills, in which participants play both “victims” and unhurt bystanders-turned-rescuers. The first class, at Chabad of Poway, took place on May 15, four years after the shooting in April 2019.

Other training sessions were scheduled for La Jolla, San Diego, Laguna Niguel, Los Angeles, Foster City and San Rafael.

“Magen David Adom’s ‘first seven minutes’ training is about empowering communities and giving them the confidence to know that by working together they can act to save lives in the immediate aftermath of an attack or disaster before first responders arrive,” Raphael Herbst, a senior paramedic at Magen David Adom, told JNS.

“It was especially meaningful to be here at Chabad of Poway, and we pray this community never has to face another tragedy like the one they experienced four years ago,” he added.

Herbst was inspired to become a paramedic after his uncle, a paramedic, was killed in a terrorist attack.

“This training isn’t just about learning how to stanch bleeding. It’s about seeking shelter while the danger is ongoing and taking immediate action in the aftermath of the incident to ensure that first responders know where the injured are and can evacuate them for potentially lifesaving medical care as quickly as possible,” he told JNS.

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