In July 2012, the Israel Fire and Rescue Authority Law was passed in the Knesset, and went into effect on February 8th, 2013, establishing the Israel Fire and Rescue Authority within the Ministry of Public Security. The Authority is commanded by the Fire and Rescue Commission, headed by a Commissioner, which directs the Authority and coordinates its operations. The Israel Fire and Rescue Authority responds to an average of 90,000 events each year.
Roles of the Israel Fire and Rescue Authority
- Extinguishing fires, preventing their spread, saving lives and salvaging property
- Preventing fires through safety precautions, education and regulations
- Rescuing trapped victims
- Dealing with hazardous material emergencies
- Saving lives and salvaging property in non-fire situations
The Israel Fire and Rescue Academy was established in 1979 in Rishon Letzion. The academy provides training for all types of firefighting roles, as well as for additional organizations, including prison service personnel, electric company employees and staff from the Nuclear Research Center.
The Israel Fire and Rescue Command Center was established in 2012 at the Fire and Rescue Commission in Rishon Letzion, and serves as a significant tool in commanding over operations in times of emergency. The role of the Command Center is to collect information on all fire and rescue operations in the country and present a real-time situational picture of events to the Fire and Rescue Commissioner.
Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT)
Ten fire stations throughout the country operate advanced HAZMAT units which are equipped with specialized vehicles for dealing with HAZMAT events and non-conventional terror attacks. Other fire stations are equipped with basic kits for responding to minor HAZMAT situations or for providing an initial response.
Special Rescue Units
There are 24 special rescue units in the Fire and Rescue Authority with the ability to conduct rescue operations from heights; eight of them have the ability to conduct rescue operations from flowing water. The special rescue units work in cooperation with the Home Front Command in rescue operations involving collapsed structures.
In 2012, the operational philosophy of fire safety and fire investigations was formulated, including a system of evaluating danger levels of structures and setting the number of required routine fire inspections for a given building.
In light of the newly established field of fire prevention, a computer management system was needed. A management system was developed that contains a database of structures throughout the country, including their purpose – residential, business, military etc., as well as the fire safety regulations for the structure and the last time it was inspected.
In addition, valuable operational information can be added to the structure’s identification on the system, such as its proximity to sensitive or high-risk areas, access points and more. The system aggregates the fire safety regulations of all the structures throughout the country into a single, consistent, orderly and easily accessible system.
The Israel Fire and Rescue Authority has a number of long-term plans to be completed by 2018, including:
- Establishing an elite firefighting unit to respond to extreme situations
- Establishing a motorcycle firefighting unit to operate in the Gush Dan area and provide a quick response amidst heavy traffic
- Equipping firefighting vehicles with computerized devices
- Recruiting hundreds of additional firefighters
- Building 13 additional fire stations to enable a shorter response time
- Purchasing 100 new fire trucks