During an exercise two weeks ago, marking the end of a specialized workshop for non-commissioned rescue officers, bottles containing the "smell of dead bodies" were scattered around the simulated "disaster site" to provide a feeling of real-life disaster.
Blood, actors portraying seriously injured civilians, and sights of complete destruction were also
incorporated into the drill.
"During incidents extend over a long period of time... it takes a while to reach the dead trapped under rubble, and their bodies decompose," seminar commander Yisrael Rozin said. "The smell gets stronger and it can shake you the first time you encounter it."
The search for a scent resembling the dead was not an easy task. Rescue and medical professionals, who are familiar with the stench from personal experience, tested several chemical and organic substances before finding the exact "smell of death."
"The strong smell is a significant part of every rescue incident," Rozin said. "It's important that our soldiers, who will have to handle situations like this in the future, adapt to a situation as close to reality as possible, to prevent shock during the moment of truth."
Workshop organizers are hoping to add realistic noise elements to the next seminar, such as screams taped during past rescue efforts, in a bid to help rescue teams deal with vocal traumas.