“Firefighters Without Borders” is the name of the delegation of fire officers from Tucson, Arizona that visited Israel to learn about the Israeli firefighting system and how Israel responds to disasters. The seven-person delegation was made up of officers from five different counties near Tucson, and were in Israel for two weeks, during which time the delegation visited fire stations in the North, Center and South of Israel, and at historic locations related to the fire service such as the memorial for those killed in the Mt. Carmel fire.
This was the first delegation of its kind sent from the greater Tucson area. According to the participants, the goal of the visit was is to learn and be exposed to the practices and methods utilized by the Israeli fire services, considered among the world’s leaders in responding to large-scale disasters.
The Arizona firefighter delegation visited our partnership region on October 17. The delegation’s first stop was at the Hof Ashkelon Resilience Center where the group had interesting conversations with the local social worker team about trauma and emergency situations and about the power of the communities in those situations. The group ate dinner at the Ashkelon fire station where they met with local Firefighters and viewed an exercise performed by firefighters.
“We hope to bring back information about how the Israeli firefighters deal with crisis situations and disasters with mass causalities. With this knowledge we hope to improve our operations and capabilities in southern Arizona” said Kelly McCoy, Division Chief of the Northwest Fire District.
“There is a special place in all of our hearts for those working in Bat Hadar with the Israeli Trauma Coalition team and our new friends at Kibbutz Yad Mordechai. Very special people to us. The firefighters at Ashkelon showed us excellent hospitality and they are our friends forever. And I don’t say this lightly. And what of our host families that took us in, feed us, and cared for us while we stayed in Kiryat Malachi? We can say we love you” wrote the group in their summary at the end of the trip.