November 30, 2023

The safest spot during a rocket siren is the standard shelter in buildings, according to the frontline command. They recommend descending to the shelter and remaining there until the threat subsides, as underground shelters are significantly safer than anywhere else due to their thick doors and the upward explosion pattern of rockets. Surprisingly, the apartment shelter ranks third in the defensive rating, followed by the above-ground shelter in second place. The stairwell claims the fourth spot, according to the Home Front Command.

In cases where there is no shelter available, older buildings can lack shelters or emergency rooms. In such instances, the best option is a windowless concrete stairwell, as experienced in an incident in Ashkelon where three girls sought refuge in a stairwell during an attack and emerged unharmed. An underground parking lot is also a secure location protected against potential threats. However, bathrooms and toilets are warned against as the most dangerous places during an attack, due to the potential danger of sharp objects and shattered mirrors.

Furthermore, experts advise lying down with closed legs and hands on the head when in an open area during an alarm, and drivers are urged to pull over to the side of the road and distance themselves from the vehicle to prevent potential injuries from igniting gasoline.

A critical issue in 2023 is the inactivity of most shelters, with thousands of housing estates built in Israel’s early decades remaining untouched by urban renewal. Shelters are often inconveniently distant for the elderly, leaving them reliant on prayers or seeking refuge in stairwells if they lack emergency rooms. Efforts by the Governmental and Urban Renewal Authority need to be revised to address the ongoing housing crisis, as the insufficient number of building permits issued for evacuation and construction projects falls far short of the demand.

Minister of Construction and Housing Yitzhak Goldknopf recently allocated NIS 75 million for shelter use in northern settlements, highlighting the neglect of the issue over the years.