FAQ

The following are a list of commonly asked questions. Click on each question to see its respective answer.

Why was Hatzalah started?

Hatzalah was started to help during those few precious minutes during which immediate and proper care may mean the difference between a patient surviving or not.  Our primary goal is to provide trained volunteers capable of responding to any type of emergency in our communities, with the skill and equipment necessary to provide competent medical care until the arrival of those professional personnel who have primary responsibility of treating and transporting ill or injured persons.  If official rescue is currently out on a different call, a second unit from a further location may need to be dispatched.  Since our volunteers are local, we may often be there within one-to-three minutes of the call coming in to our dispatchers. Our goal is to have an average on-scene arrival of less than three minutes.

When is it appropriate to call Hatzalah?

If one is faced with a life-threatening emergency or even the possibility of a life-threatening emergency, call 911 and Hatzalah.  

Our Hatzalah EMTs are trained to assess and begin life-saving treatments until the official rescue units arrive to continue with more advanced care and to transport the patient to the appropriate hospital for further treatment.

Hatzalah EMTs are trained to assess and treat a wide range of medical emergencies, including:

  • Cardiac emergencies
  • Choking
  • Diabetic emergencies
  • Difficulty breathing
  • OB/GYN emergencies
  • Automobile accidents
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Severe burns
  • Severe bleeding
  • Severe wounds
  • Slips and falls resulting in serious injury

All these examples have one thing in common: they are situations that are either life-threatening or have the potential to be life-threatening. If you consider calling 911, think of calling Hatzalah as well.

When shouldn’t someone call Hatzalah?

The most common misuse of a Hatzalah organization is a person requesting Hatzalah services for what is clearly and obviously a situation that is not life-threatening. Calling Hatzalah for non-life-threatening situations reduces the number of trained volunteers available to respond to a true life-threatening emergency, and reduces the likelihood of another patient’s survival.

Are there any services that Hatzalah does not provide?

Yes. Hatzalah will never provide transportation to a hospital. In South Florida, no one other than 9-1-1 personnel or their representatives may transport an emergency patient. Our goal here is only to provide immediate care and serve as a bridge until official personnel can arrive on scene to assume patient care.

Additionally, we are not trained to diagnose problems. For example, a baby having difficulty breathing may be having an asthma attack, croup, pneumonia, epiglottis, or a host of other possibilities. Determining the cause is not our focus. That is something to be determined by doctors in a hospital. What we can do is try to ensure the baby is receiving adequate oxygen and is stabilized until paramedics arrive to transport the baby to the hospital.

How many volunteers do you have, and how are they trained?

As of January 1, 2012, Hatzalah of Miami-Dade has a core group of approximately 40 trained responders and 12 trained dispatchers.  All Hatzalah responders are certified by the Florida Department of Health Bureau of Emergency Medical Services as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs).  We are always seeking new local volunteers to assist, and can help provide necessary training and support.

Does Hatzalah have a continuing education program?

Yes. Continuing education training is mandatory – and enables us to provide the best care possible. Each EMT is required to attend periodic continuing education classes and/or drills, which ensures that each EMT will keep his skills current and ready when called upon in an emergency. Hatzalah itself is recognized by the Florida Department of Health as a provider of continuing education classes.

Why won’t Hatzalah members talk about a patient they treated?

There are many obvious reasons why it is not appropriate to talk about any patient care, condition, etc.  However, the most important reason is the federally-mandated HIPAA law, which legally forbids any member of Hatzalah from revealing any information about a patient to anyone.  This is an extremely challenging issue, especially because of the familiarity between EMTs and our community at large.  Please do not ask any Hatzalah member about a patient’s condition, even if the community is aware of what transpired.

Why does it sometimes seem to take multiple rings before a Hatzalah dispatcher answers the phone?

Hatzalah dispatchers are trained to answer an incoming call only after a caller ID appears on the screen. That way, if for any reason the call is disconnected or the caller is unable to continue the conversation, the dispatcher knows the origin of the call and can proceed with the dispatch. Often, the caller ID does not appear until at the beginning of the third ring.

Is Hatzalah affiliated with any other organization?

Hatzalah is a community organization operating under the auspices and direction of the Orthodox Rabbinical Council of South Florida (Rabbi Pinchas Weberman, President).  As mandated by our Rabbis, Hatzalah is totally independent and is not affiliated with any other Miami-Dade organization. We are, however, an affiliate of Central Hatzalah of New York, the oldest and largest Jewish emergency-care volunteer organization in the world.

How is Hatzalah funded?

Hatzalah is an IRS-recognized 501(c)(3) tax-exempt corporation funded only through private donations.  One hundred percent of every dollar donated goes to fund Hatzalah operations, which includes equipment, training, and operational costs. All Hatzalah personnel are unpaid volunteers.

Please click here to make a credit card donation or mail your contribution to:

Hatzalah of Miami-Dade, Inc.
16101 N.E. 11th Ct.
N Miami Beach, FL 33162.

Hatzalah never charges a fee to anyone receiving emergency patient care.

Is Hatzalah accepting new applicants to be trained as EMTs?

We are always interested in receiving new applications for volunteer EMT’s and dispatchers. Please call our office at 305-490-5274 or send an email to info@miamihatzalah.com for more information. Expansion of Hatzalah services is completely dependent on having local residents volunteer to provide coverage in their communities.

How can one obtain more information about Hatzalah?

Call 305-490-5274.  That is Hatzalah’s non-emergency office number. If no one answers, please leave a message and someone will get back to you.

Does Hatzalah offer community based training?

Yes. As part of its never-ending campaign to respond to existing medical emergencies, Hatzalah of Miami-Dade has embarked on an ambitious program of offering members of the community the opportunity to take special first aid and CPR classes. Such instruction might often mean the difference between life and death, especially in areas outside of our primary service areas, (like Sunny Isles or other locals) to which Hatzalah members are not able to respond in a timely manner.

The courses can be given in the following two categories:

(1) Basic First Aid
(2) Basic CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation)

These life-saving courses can be arranged to be taught  both during the day (especially helpful for those mothers who have young children in school.) and in the evening for those members of the community who have jobs during the day or are enrolled in classes. 

These courses will help you know how to best react for a variety of unexpected emergency situations ranging from "seemingly" simple kitchen accidents to more serious situations such as life-threatening heart attacks.

If you are interested in learning more about organizing one of the above classes, please email us at training@miamihatzalah.com.