On the way back from Beijing I had a chance to fly with Neil Goldman, a co founder of Capital IQ who is now both a fund manager and a philanthropist.  Neil shared with me that he supports of Hatzalah.   Coming from Fon a global WiFi network built by the people and interested in all efforts that involved citizen participation (see my previous article on Couchsurfing) I thought that the idea of training regular citizens to save lives was quite powerful.  The basic idea of Haftzalah is that without much training all of us can save lives and while it would be ideal of course that only very well trained medical personnel saves lives it so happens that many times by the time qualified medical personnel arrives it is just too late.  So Haftzalah trains anyone in Israel, say a marketing manager at a tech company, to save lives.  And she may be at a meeting explaining how to launch the latest Web 2.0 service but when her phone rings, she drops everything a la Superman and goes to save lives, at least until the MDs arrive.  One of the biggest life savers is in the use of defibrillators.  As the Hatzalah web site describes:

AUTOMATIC EXTERNAL DEFIBRILLATOR
These machines automatically detect heart rhythms and can shock a patients heart back into beating.

My father died of a heart attack when he was only 49 in an intercontinental flight and I certainly wish that there had been a defibrillator on board and regular citizens trained to deal with them.  I was also pleased to see that this concept was extended to the US and it is somewhat similar to that of being a Red Cross Volunteer but even more grassroots.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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