Lowndesboro firefighter to participate in emergency services educational mission to Israel

Published 6:51 pm Tuesday, August 27, 2013

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal

Dennis Blair, a member and volunteer recruiter for the Lowndesboro Volunteer Fire Department, who serves as State Emergency Medical Services Director for the Alabama Department of Public Health, has been invited to participate in the 2013 Emergency Services Education mission to Israel.

He is one of four State EMS Directors and four medical directors from the United Stated invited for the week-long trip set for October.

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Blair’s office licenses and regulates emergency medical services such as ambulance services and paramedics in Alabama.

The trip is being entirely funded by American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF), Blair said. And he stressed he is using his own leave time to make the trip so “it will not cost the state one tax dollar.”

Blair said he hopes to learn, “How their (Israel’s) every day medical response teams respond to mass casualties and how they tend to day-to-day emergencies in Israel.”

Blair said he did not know how he was selected but, “I feel honored. It is the trip of a lifetime personally and professionally.”

He said, “If I can bring back two or three things to help us in Alabama it will be worth it.”

According to information provided by Blair, AIEF has developed superior programs for the educational benefit of America’s most influential opinion leaders.

He said, “Educational seminars in Israel are a critical component of AIEF efforts. This week-long seminar offers a unique opportunity to come face-to-face with the geopolitical, strategic, economic and social challenges faced by Israel through a complex mix of policy briefings, direct conversations with top government officials, encounters with members of the Israeli public and travel throughout the country to understand Homeland Security issues.”

He said, “I will be exposed to the Homeland Security experience in Israel, as well as the complex threats security officials face. This trip will allow the exchange of information and best practices with emergency responders and security experts.”

According to Blair, the program will include briefings on
•Emergency management in medical and other hazardous situations;
•Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress;
•The security situation in Israel that affect Israel and the US; and
•A strategic tour of keys areas such as the border area near Lebanon, the Golan Heights and the Sderot near Israel’s border with Gaza.