ZAKA INTERNATIONAL SEARCH & RESCUE - ZAKA 2

 Climbing and Rappelling Unit

A team working within the Rescue Unit, responsible for rescue situations that involve climbing and rappelling. This elite group of extremely fit volunteers with medical knowledge has undergone specialist training in order to offer an immediate response in natural and urban disasters.

Divers Unit

A highly qualified team, the Divers Unit is equipped with various levels of diving equipment for immediate response in the search for people missing at sea or those in distress and deployed from Haifa in the North to Eilat in the south.

The idea for establishing the Divers Unit was borne out of a real need identified by the ZAKA Rescue Unit commanders. It was during the search for the late Moshe Caniel, who drowned off the coast of Tel Aviv in 2005, that hundreds of volunteers combed the coastline while helicopters hovered above – only to realise that they were unable to reach the depths of the sea due to lack of the appropriately qualified personnel. ZAKA, quick to learn from this incident, established a Divers Unit in the name of Caniel, 30 days after his body was recovered. In February 2007, the Divers Unit flew to France to assist in the search for a missing Israeli diplomat and succeeded in locating and retrieving his body. The ZAKA Divers Unit comprises 150 professional (and mostly secular) divers, including ex Navy commandos, doctors, lawyers and businessmen who regularly train together.

Canine Search and Rescue Unit

There are only ten search and rescue dogs in the unit, due to their special nature and their complex training as search dogs. These dogs are used around the country to assist in dozens of search operations, including searching for senior citizens, Alzheimer sufferers and people with suicidal tendencies who have gone missing. The unit, which carries out joint exercises with the IDF's elite Oketz canine unit, is ready to move anywhere in the country for the benefit of the community and to save lives at any time and in any place.

A search and rescue dog can identify the scent of a person in distress or a dead person (up to 48 hours after death) from a considerable distance. The dog handler leads the dog against the wind that carries scents undetected by man. The dog can distinguish between the scent emitted by someone stationary (the missing person) and that of someone moving (the search team), even at night and if the person is camouflaged or hidden. As soon as the dog identifies the scent, he will lead the dog handler to its source, sit down and bark.

The dogs are brought to the scene of the search in real time, and released in the area to search, with the dog handler in pursuit, noting the path taken by the dog. The dogs are capable of locating a dead body in just five minutes in a 500 square meter area, even if this is a stony and difficult terrain that is not reachable by the search team.

 

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