Snatching little more than an hour of sleep at a time, and no more than two hours over a day and night, Hamdan and the others in his team barely have time to eat or phone their families.
“I have been so frightened that at some point I will get a call to head out to a rescue and it will be my family,” Hamdan said.
Hamdan tries to talk to his wife and six children aged from his daughter Maisa, 13, down to baby son Muhannad, between rescues, using video calls to see their faces. “I feel like I’m going blind until I make that call,” he said.
In previous wars, Israel often gave a few minutes notice to residents of blocks it intended to target but Gaza residents say it has not done so this time.
“This war is harsh beyond imagining. They are collapsing people’s buildings without warning. They knock down high-rise buildings on top of their residents,” said Hamdan, who has worked through repeated wars since becoming a rescuer for the Gaza government in 2007.
In one Reuters video a missile could be seen ploughing into the base of a 10-storey building in Gaza City on Thursday, causing a massive explosion as the surrounding area was engulfed in a cloud of smoke and dust.
Late on Wednesday, medical worker Rami Ali was shown in a Palestine Red Crescent video sitting in an ambulance crying into his hand, his body heaving, after watching the bodies of children being taken from a building.
Hamdan works for the Civil Emergency department, the fire and rescue service operated by the Gaza government, which Hamas has controlled since seizing power in the enclave during a brief Palestinian civil war in 2007.
Israel and Hamas have repeatedly clashed during that time, with air strikes hitting targets in Gaza. Hamdan said that as in previous violence, the civil emergency team was currently operating out of schools, believing them to be safer from attack.
“We are on alert all the time. There is bombing everywhere. There are injured and martyrs everywhere. So if I get one hour sleep I will be happy,” Hamdan said.