As dire forecasts of Hurricane Irma’s path rattle Florida, many locals are heeding the evacuation orders and fleeing the areas likely to suffer the most severe impact by the impending storm. However, it is also expected that others will stay behind and attempt to brave the harsh weather, necessitating an effective plan in place to deal with the possible humanitarian disaster that the hurricane is likely to leave in its wake, as well as to offer help to those who have reached the shelters in a timely fashion but require assistance.
In anticipation of the potential problems to come, Miami Hatzalah has made a special request to the Jewish communities in the Northeast, and Chevra Hatzalah of New York, the central, parent organization uniting the Hatzalah organizations of New York City neighborhoods and the Catskills, is mobilizing to meet this unique challenge facing the Florida community.
The massive effort, currently being coordinated by Chevra Hatzalah, involves a planned convoy of 15 ambulances and 60 Hatzalah members from all of the neighborhoods under its auspices, as well as from nearby locales such as Monsey, Kiryas Yoel, Lakewood, Baltimore and more.
This huge undertaking, in turn, requires detailed logistical planning, ensuring that there is adequate food, fuel and equipment necessary for the Hatzalah members to confront the difficult conditions awaiting them should the affected areas be devastated, and Chevra Hatzalah is in the process of organizing these logistics, with plans for four vehicles to join the convoy just for the purpose of supplying of food, drinks and medical equipment.
With the storm still hundreds of miles away and its precise route still uncertain, Hatzalah will be monitoring the situation to determine when it’s safe to approach, and a final decision will be made Motzoei Shabbos about setting out.