February 28, 2010
Amid growing tensions, Home Front Command begins pilot program in Or Yehuda.Amid growing tension in the north, the IDF Home Front Command will begin a pilot program to redistribute gas masks in Or Yehuda on Sunday. Under the plan – drawn up by Col. Yossi Sagiv, head of the Home Front Command’s Gas Mask and Protection Kits Department – the masks will be returned to private homes by the Israel Postal Company, which beat out seven other companies in a Defense Ministry-issued tender in late 2009. Gas masks were collected from private homes starting in 2007 by a private delivery company. The distribution is slated to take three years. Officials said that after the distribution is completed in Or Yehuda, the IDF will review the operation, implement corrections and improvements and then start distributing the kits in other parts of the country, based on operational considerations of which area is under a more immediate threat. The public will receive the same rubber gas mask that it had in the past with an improved filter – more effective against chemical and biological threats Israel faces – but without the syringe of Atropine that was in past kits. Under the plan, Postal Company representatives will contact homeowners and schedule a time to visit and deliver the gas masks required by the family. Each family will be asked to pay a nominal sum of less than NIS 20. The courier will also help fit the gas masks to the family members and explain how to use them. People that prefer not to pay the fee can travel to a distribution center, that will be located in each city, to pick up their gas masks.