Based on the Israeli technology and expertise that have made United Hatzalah of Israel highly successful, the inaugural United Rescue program in the United States was launched July 30 in Jersey City.
United Rescue, which uses GPS technology and intensive training to provide lifesaving medical treatment before the arrival of an ambulance, is a partnership between Jersey City Medical Center, a Barnabas Health facility, and the City of Jersey City.
First announced by Mayor Steven Fulop in January, United Rescue received more than 300 applicants for its inaugural group of volunteers. The first cohort of 50 — all of whom either live, work, or attend school in Jersey City — will receive lifesaving medical equipment upon the successful completion of a 60-hour course in medical first response. Once operational, 9-1-1 calls received in JCMC’s call center will be routed through the NowForce dispatch system, which locates the closest United Rescue volunteers and notifies them via a GPS-based mobile app to the location of a given emergency.
According to Joseph Scott, JCMC president and CEO, whether in the case of heart attacks, strokes, or traffic accidents, the difference between life and death is often determined by how quickly an ambulance can reach the scene. While JCMC’s EMS Department maintains some of the fastest response times in the nation, with an average response time of less than six minutes, United Hatzalah’s average emergency response time is just three minutes. United Rescue recognizes that many victims could be saved if a nearby neighbor or coworker or were equipped to help during that initial window of time.
“Response time is integral in improving patient outcomes,” said Scott. “The United Rescue program will help increase Jersey City Medical Center’s already world-renowned survival rates and ensure that the residents of Jersey City receive the most prompt, professional, and proficient prehospital care.”
Although the model has been successfully deployed in Argentina, Brazil, Panama, and Lithuania, Jersey City’s “will be the first program of its kind in the United States,” said Paul Sosman, United Rescue program supervisor at JCMC. “I am confident that the United Rescue program will enhance our EMS system further and save even more lives.”
“We are excited to be the first city in the country to launch this innovative lifesaving program,” Fulop said. “When every second matters, we want to deliver the fastest, best medical service to our residents.” United Rescue Jersey City is funded exclusively through private charitable donations. United Rescue aims to expand the model around the United States.
“We are thrilled to be exporting our Israeli techniques to help the residents of Jersey City get better, faster emergency services,” said United Hatzalah founder and president Eli Beer, who was on hand for the initial training. “We look forward to sharing in the success of United Rescue Jersey City.”