When Amira was 15, she took a 60 hour first aid course and for a while - maybe it was two years or a bit more, she volunteered on the local ambulance squad. The summer after the first year, she took a week-long course to be prepared to function in a multiple casualties situation. I wrote, The Ostrich Calls to Me after attending her course ceremony.
Less than 2 years later, Elie took the same courses, first the initial one and then the second. He found something there and so he continues, even today to regularly volunteer. They called him yesterday. Because of the increase in security, MADA (Magen David Adom - the national ambulance service), has been ordered to full alert - all ambulances need to be staffed...24 hours a day. Tonight, he will be doing a shift and he's asked me to make the car available as much as possible so that he can volunteer. He is now completing the medic/ambulance driver course twice a week...
Less than 3 years after Elie started, Shmulik also took these two courses but like Amira, after a while, he decided to stop. What he learned there continues, even today, to help him handle situations calmly.
And three years ago, Davidi began the same path. He's 18 and a half now and still very dedicated to volunteering. He took a course to train others in first aid - later in the summer, he'll be teaching his second course. Elie thinks Davidi should also take the medics course. Davidi was in Jerusalem yesterday when the sirens went off and MADA did something I have never heard them do before - they sent all the youth home.
There are different levels of volunteers - youth, graduates, etc. If an ambulance is called to the site of a terror attack, they are not allowed to take volunteers who are younger than 18. They have strict orders to get the kid off the ambulance if at all possible and if it isn't safe to leave the teenager at a bus stop, the volunteer is ORDERED not to get out of the ambulance.
Davidi turned 18 in January. Apparently, MADA extends the concept of 18 until they finish high school. Davidi finished high school about 2 weeks ago, but they have not yet completed the paper work to make him an "adult" in the eyes of MADA and so he too was sent home yesterday.
At a time when they are so badly needed, the needs of the young adult is still put first. So for now, Elie and the others are going to give more hours so that MADA fulfills the requirement - full alert.