How Do You Brace for a Snowstorm in Jerusalem?

January 5, 2015  

The heavy cold front closing in on Israel is expected to hit full force starting late Tuesday, with deep snows anticipated to settle in on various parts of the country including Jerusalem as the week proceeds. Given the record snows during the winter of 2013, many Jerusalemites are making preparations – but what to do?

To answer that question Arutz Sheva spoke with Dr. Oded Poznanski who was recently appointed as the head of the Pediatric Emergency Medicine Unit at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in the capital city.

Poznanski, who began his path as a doctor 26 years ago as a student at the Ein Kerem campus, emphasized that residents need to prepare for the most extreme possibilities and particularly for the most “extreme” ages, namely the elderly and infants, who are at the most significant danger for frostbite and hypothermia.

The doctor recommended taking preventative steps as the most pressing preparation, urging residents to find ways to keep their bodies warm as the cold settles in on the country. Poznanski called on parents and caregivers to make sure the infants and elderly receive necessary warmth.

He also called for people to show mutual responsibility by giving special attention to the homeless and those with financial difficulties who may have trouble keeping their houses warm. Not being able to keep warm has led to tragedy in previous snowstorms, as several fatalities were recorded from the intense cold.

Poznanski suggested that everyone stay alert to the early signs of onset of frostbite, expressed in a bluish tint to the skin and small wounds at the extremities of the limbs in addition to tingling and a loss of feeling. Such signs require the limbs to be warmed immediately, and if the symptoms still do not pass, professional medical assistance is necessary.

In the hospitals the level of preparedness is high according to the doctor, who said no small number of patients are expected to arrive suffering from various ailments brought in with the storm, including wounds caused by slipping on the snow and ice. He noted that in snowstorms “we have our hands full of work.”

The Samaria Regional Council issued an announcement regarding the upcoming snowstorm, saying “since the snowstorm that visited the region last year, emergency crews in the different communities have been prepared and reinforced in advance, snow kits have been passed out to people with positions like those in medical crews and security forces.”

“Tractors, power shovels, generators, engineering tools, chains and special equipment for snow are distributed in the different communities and at central traffic routes in preparation for the storm on Wednesday,” the announcement added.

The council added that it is prepared to answer requests by elderly residents, the sick, mothers with babies and others to be temporarily evacuated for the storm.

Deputy Head of the Samaria Regional Council Yossi Dagan emphasized “emergency medical equipment has been distributed to every community, as have generators in case of power outages.”

“In addition, in order to manage the crews on the ground and to give a response to the requests of the residents, a unique computerized system will be used allowing an updated situation report in real time for all the relevant sources,” added Dagan.

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