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Re-imagining first response with an all-volunteer rescue service

Ambulance response time can vary widely across cities, depending on traffic patterns and the location of the emergency situation. As a volunteer medic in Jerusalem, Elli Beer witnessed firsthand how a few minutes can make a significant difference in saving a life. His frustration with poor ambulance response times led him to develop an all-volunteer rescue service called United Hatzalah.

In this recently posted TEDMED talk, Beer talks passionately about how a small neighborhood group dedicated to responding to nearby emergencies evolved into United Hatzalah's network of 2,000 volunteers. Today, volunteers respond to incidents on "ambu-cycles," motorcycles carrying the same equipment as a conventional ambulance but lacking the ability to transport patients, and have treated more than 200,000 people in the past year. Beer has rolled out the service in Brazil and Panama and plans to expand to India.

Previously: Comparing the cost-effectiveness of helicopter transport and ambulances for trauma victims and On using social media to improve emergency-preparedness efforts

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