On the morning of September 11th, 2001, after a plane crashed into the World Trade Center, four members of Hatzolah of Mill Basin immediately responded to the dispatchers request for emergency medical treatment units to proceed into Manhattan.
Less than a month before that fateful day, Hatzolah of Mill Basin had become the proud owner of a state-of-the-art ambulance. While previous ambulances had been cramped and outdated, this new ambulance allowed ample room in which members could maneuver, treat and comfortably transport patients.
Hatzolah members were told to park their ambulance three blocks from the site of the crash and proceed with their equipment to the scene. These responders had the option to set up a triage unit inside one of the towers but miraculously they remained outside, waiting for firemen to bring people out of the building to be treated.
Little did they know that had they set up their equipment inside, they would have been counted among the casualties of the day.
One Hatzolah member described the scene: “It was a beautiful day; the sky was clear and blue. Then one second later, there was a dust storm; it was dark, there were fumes. People were choking and throwing up from the fumes. We stayed to help with whatever we could.”
These heroic Hatzolah members treated many injured victims and transported the wounded to ferries so they could be treated at hospitals in nearby New Jersey. Amid this frenzy, the new Hatzolah ambulance caught fire. Though members quickly extinguished the flames, the ambulance was structurally compromised, yet Hatzolah members continued to treat people in it for the rest of the day.
Late that night, they crammed in numerous firefighters to transport them home to Brooklyn. Although Hatzolah members suffered minor scrapes and injuries, miraculously there were no casualties.
Since 9/11, Hatzolah provides members with collaborative training, along with the fire and police departments, the Office of Emergency Management and the Department of Homeland Security for Mass Casualty Incidents. Members are trained and certified by FEMA in IS-5, IS-100, IS-200, IS-700 NIMS (National Incident Management System) and IS800.