Nechama Loebel teaching an EMS course in sign language. (United Hatzalah)


United Hatzalah is expanding its ability to teach life-saving techniques to the broader public, including the deaf and hard of hearing.

After becoming the first deaf EMT in Israel, Nechama Loebel has once again broken barriers for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community in Israel by instructing the first EMS course in sign language.

Loebel, who recently graduated from a Psychotrauma and Crisis Response course, as well as an EMS instructor’s course, is certified to instruct basic CPR and EMS classes.

She wasted no time in organizing the first ever EMS course in sign language for fellow members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community in Israel.

“It is my dream to be able to take this lifesaving information and forward it to other members of the deaf and hard of hearing community in Israel,” said Loebel, who completed her instructor’s course only a few weeks ago.

The course took place in the community clubhouse for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Ashdod. United Hatzalah offers family safety courses that are comprised of basic EMS skills, including CPR and proper procedures for treating common injuries, such as burns, choking, light wounds, and broken bones.

As part of the network of courses which are offered across the country, Nechama felt that it was important to offer these classes to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community in their own language.

“The goal is to provide as many people as we can with the basic tools they need to save a life in an emergency. There is no reason that the deaf community should be excluded from that,” said Loebel. “I am ecstatic that I am able to help provide this service for others who live with the same challenges that I face, so that they, too, will be able to save lives.”

The course was overseen by Yechiel Cohen, who serves as the local chapter head for the organization in Ashdod. Yechiel instructed and Nechama simultaneously translated the information into sign language.

“Nechama has been a treasure to our organization,” said United Hatzalah President and Founder Eli Beer. “Not only is she an active volunteer who has saved many lives and helped other volunteers in the field communicate with patients who are deaf and hard of hearing, she has been an inspiration to us all and challenges us to continue to expand our horizons and include people from all walks of life and all populations in Israel. She is always active and always looking for new ways to reach out to members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community in Israel. I have no doubt that she will continue to be an inspiration to us all for many years to come.”