By Justin Schecker. CREATED Oct 3, 2013
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A group of local firefighters is headed for the Holy Land for a chance to partner with Israel's internationally recognized first responders.
For two weeks, seven local firefighters from five different departments will essentially embed with the Israel Fire and Rescue Service.
"It is a fact-finding delegation to explore the Israeli fire and rescue services and learn from a best practices, internationally known organization and bring that learning back into our own systems," said Northwest Fire Division Chief KC McCoy, one of the seven delegates for the inaugural trip.
The Greater Tucson Fire Foundation is sponsoring this first of its kind international collaboration called Firefighters Without Borders.
"Their mission, I'm paraphrasing is to essentially increase the quality of lie and prevent harm in Southern Arizona," McCoy said of the Fire Foundation.
The delegation hopes to bring back ways Israeli first responders handle mass casualty situations, similar to the Jan. 8 mass shooting, McCoy said.
"How do we bring our system to bear on that problem," McCoy said. "Quickly treat, transport and triage. In Israel, unfortunately they have much experience with that."
Israel recently reorganized its fire services following the deadliest wildfire in the country's history. The 2010 Mount Carmel forest fire killed 44 people.
"The national government realized we need to change," McCoy said. "They took all those organizations and they created one fire department."
Understanding how the reforms in Israel worked, McCoy said could help the different Southern Arizona fire departments cooperate better.
Tucson Fire, Rincon Valley, Tucson Airport Authority and Green Valley are the other departments sending delegates on the trip to Israel.