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There is a growing global understanding that the major challenge today is natural disasters – earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, etc. Awareness of pandemics threats has been growing now with the global spread of the COVID-19.
Research demonstrates that the majority of the casualties are rescued by family members, neighbors, and bystanders. The search and rescue teams with the professional knowledge and equipment arrive at the scene at a later stage. As such, extensive mass training in basic life-saving activities is critical for preparedness to an emergency.
However, both in Israel and the world, there is a considerable lack in the availability of accessible emergency response training facilities in Israel and abroad. The innovative startup Atlas wants to bridge this gap by developing a mobile technological solution with maximal availability – an active simulator for urban search, rescue and medical training deployable in any environment, and modular – suitable for all training levels. Atlas is participating in the 7th cycle of the iHLS Security Accelerator.
The entrepreneurs, Ido Orlov and Hagai Eldar, both have years of experience in training in the fields of emergency preparedness, with a focus on urban search and rescue operations. Ido served for many years as an officer and commander at Israel’s Home Front Command, in roles of instruction, command and headquarters, specializing in preparedness and emergency management in search and rescue missions. He was Home Front Command Attache in the US between 2016-2019.
Hagai, a businessman, is a former business partner of Strauss co., and for over a decade served as VP Operations in a large Israeli company, where he specialized in the establishment of factories around the world, mainly in third world countries, basing on Israeli knowledge.
The two have identified the need for an available training facility. In Israel as in other western countries that operate in the urban search and rescue field, the existing training facilities are stationary, far from population concentrations, expensive to maintain and operate and are not accessible enough for those who wish to train and prepare for emergencies.
Following extensive research and hands-on experience, as well as numerous meetings with experts from search and rescue units in the US and in Israel, Atlas has developed the innovative model of the active simulator which produces the challenging experience of search and rescue. The facility offers training in breaking through stone and rubble, supporting, lifting high weight, medical response, etc. under complex conditions. The simulator also demonstrates the close to reality feeling and atmosphere by using smoke, sound, shaking, winds and moving in the simulator, demonstrating an earthquake or hurricane experience.
This mobile training facility is transported by truck to the trainees anywhere in any area. The simulator is transportable by truck, requiring only parking space. The facility supplies its own needs in electricity through a generator, water container and pump, smoke, sound and documentation systems.
Who is the Atlas simulator designed for? According to Ido Orlov, “the simulator is intended for training firefighters and medical teams, military units, rescue units, emergency units in infrastructure industries, education institutes and any organization that wants to prepare for emergencies. After the development is completed, the company will focus on its marketing in the US, Canada, Singapore, South America, Japan, and Israel.”
Alongside professional first responding teams, rescue units, dedicated rescue units of infrastructure industries and local authorities, an important sector is school students. The integration of pupils’ instruction as part of the first responders who will operate during disasters is a genuine revolution that should be advanced. In Israel, for example, all students from 10th grade onwards are obliged by law to participate in a basic rescue course. Israel is one of the leading countries in this regard. In addition, persons and families could train in basic missions in an escape room-like experience, which integrates emergency feeling with simple, enjoyable missions that could prepare them better for emergencies on the personal and family levels.
The facility maintains the highest levels of security and control. It is equipped with a manned command and control room that receives the training picture from the whole facility. The control room enables high security, control of smoke flow to the various spaces, control of sounds of injured and trapped survivors that simulate reality, and the use of videos and images for feedback and quality learning after training.
The facility is highly modular suitable for all levels of trainers, from the basic to the complex, professional training for professionals from the leading rescue units.
What about the COVID-19 pandemic? According to Orlov, “Atlas’ facility could offer an effective training solution for coping with pandemics. In addition to basic training for hygienics at the facility, with a focus on school students, we plan to use existing rain simulation sprinklers for practicing the disinfection of spaces, such as a bus, a school class, public spaces, etc. Using a spraying material that can be seen in a computerized way could demonstrate to the trainees the optimal disinfection procedure.”
Elder and Orlov envision Atlas as a world groundbreaking company based on Israeli knowledge and experience, by making training for search, rescue and medical emergency preparedness accessible. Their vision – Instruction for every citizen. “Saving lives as the ultimate value guiding us in this important project.”
In the future, the same revolutionary platform they have developed will also enable training in a wide range of additional scenarios.
Eldar and Orlov emphasize the importance for them of being part of the iHLS Security Accelerator. For us, it is an opportunity for exposure and meeting various organizations, learning from experienced professionals in the advancement of startups, and a feeling of belonging to an exclusive club.