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To the Rescue

By C. M. Aker

It’s 7 p.m. at the ZAKA Command Center. The phone rings. A frantic father is on the line. He went on a hike with his eight sons; one of them is missing. It might be evening, but at ZAKA, it’s business as usual.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

zakaMr. Chaim Otmazgin is ZAKA Special Units commander. He runs theZAKACommandCenter and is responsible for every ZAKA search and rescue mission. Let’s follow him as he coordinates this rescue.

 MJ: Hi Mr. Otmazgin. A call has come in. Now what?

Mr. Otmazgin: Information is sent to the local ZAKA volunteers and the commander of the Missing Persons Unit, who is, in turn, put in touch with the police officer handling the case and with the family of the missing person. Additional investigation takes place; for example, family of the missing person and those who were with him when he was last seen are questioned.

The ZAKA commander builds a profile of the missing person. He will ask for the most recent and clearest photo, the color and type of clothing he wore, where he was last seen, and other pertinent details.

A range of tasks are prepared for the ZAKA volunteers, and each team of five volunteers is assigned a particular area. Working in close coordination with the police, they set out to search. They make sure to constantly update the central command post, ensuring that everyone involved in the search mission is working together.

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