Posts Tagged ‘Civil Defence’

Gaza under attack – a UK paramedic’s perspective

July 11, 2014



originally posted here

July 9, 2014: Reading back through this blog will give you a glimpse into the healthcare system in Gaza, particularly the emergency services. During my three months as a UK paramedic visiting Gaza, I felt like I got a decent understanding of the situation that my Palestinian counterparts work in. I saw the mismatched selection of donated ambulances and equipment they work with, the empty shelves in ambulances where basic medical supplies should be stocked and saw bombed out ambulances, now hoisted onto the roof of the Red Crescent ambulance station in Gaza City as a reminder of the systematic targeting of rescue workers during previous Israeli offensives. (more…)


“We leave without expecting to return”: meeting the firefighters of Gaza

April 10, 2014


Originally posted at Paramedics in Gaza

Yesterday I visited the Civil Defence Directorate, which provides the fire and rescue service in Gaza, as well as some emergency ambulances and marine rescue. These guys have a reputation as being fearless, as well as being the most vulnerable to attack during times of war. In the 2008-9 war, 13 Civil Defence workers were killed in the line of duty, with 31 injured. This includes medics killed in their ambulances by snipers and firefighters injured by secondary drone attacks while rescuing victims of the initial strikes. These risks are additional to jobs which are considered dangerous even in peaceful countries like the UK and USA.

I found out plenty about the Civil Defence’s ambulance service, including interviewing staff and looking around muralthe ambulances and equipment stores, but I’m going to save that for a later post and just write about the firefighters. In the UK, the ambulance service and fire service are separate so please forgive any ignorance about the equipment and vehicles I saw. I knew they were fire engines because they were big and red, and I knew it was a fire station because there were some weights in the corner and a ping pong table. Beyond that, it was all new to find out. (more…)

Risking their lives to save lives: Gaza’s Civil Defence First Responders

February 24, 2014

from Joe Catron, The Electronic Intifada, Gaza City, 16th April 2013

Firefighters aim hose at building billowing with smoke

Palestinian firefighters extinguish a blaze after an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, 18 November 2012.(Ashraf Amra / APA images)“When thousands of Palestinians poured into the streets of the Gaza Strip after the announcement of a ceasefire with Israel on the night of 21 November last year, they found many of them flooded.Celebrants in areas hard-hit by eight days of Israeli airstrikes, artillery fire and naval shelling were particularly likely to find themselves wading through rivers of water. Firefighters had sprayed it to extinguish blazes at nearby bomb sites as missiles fell hours earlier.“If we — if anyone — thinks of this as his job, he will not work,” said Yousef Khaled Zahar, general manager of the Civil Defense Directorate in Gaza.“But because we believe in our people and our country, because we belong to this people, we work without ever thinking of the dangers. We are only concerned with serving our people.” (more…)