FIRE COMMISSIONER NICHOLAS SCOPPETTA HONORS
PARAMEDICS AND EMERGENCY MEDICAL TECHNICIANS
AT EMS MEDAL DAY CEREMONY
Fire Departmentís EMS Command Honors 15 members for Meritorious Acts in 2005
Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta today honored Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) of the New York City Fire Department EMS Command at a medal ceremony held at Fire Department headquarters in Brooklyn.
Today’s medal recipients were cited for their life-saving efforts at fires, plane crashes, vehicle accidents and other emergencies. The stories recounted incidents of highly effective patient care in some of the most unusual or difficult circumstances in which members often went above and beyond the normal actions of EMS.
“Today I am proud to honor these members of the EMS Command, and I salute them for their commitment and dedication to both their profession, and the patients they treat,” said Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta. “Quite often, as proven by the stories we will hear today, the training and quick actions of these professionals routinely mean the difference between life and death.”
The medal ceremony recognized meritorious actions that occurred during calendar year 2005. The following are some highlights from today’s ceremony:
The top honor, the Christopher J. Prescott Medal was awarded to EMT Stephen A. Smith of EMS Station 54. While transporting a patient to the hospital with a paramedic unit, EMT Smith stopped at a traffic light when several civilians came running up to the vehicle to report a fire with people trapped. EMT Smith notified the Queens dispatcher of the fire. They reported that three elderly residents were trapped in the rear basement. EMT Smith entered the building and was met with dense, acrid smoke making it difficult to see and breathe. Staying low, EMT Smith followed the terrified cries where he observed two senior citizens at the bottom of the stairs. EMT Smith assisted both of them out of the building when the male informed him another elderly female was trapped inside. EMT Smith attempted to find the elderly female but was driven back by the intense heat and flames. Once outside the building EMT Smith was informed that the elderly males had returned into the building to again look for the elderly female. EMT Smith entered the building a second time encountering heavy smoke and flames. He assisted the elderly males from the building but again was unable to make contact with the elderly female. When EMT Smith exited the building he informed the fire officer of the elderly female trapped in the basement. EMT Smith led fire personnel to the stairway of the basement and exited the building and assisted in the pre-hospital treatment of the civilians.
The Tracy Allen-Lee Medal was awarded to Lieutenant Barry A. Travis of EMS Station 22, Paramedic Carlos A. Lizcano of EMS Station 31 and Paramedic Gary S. Smiley of EMS Station 31. A passerby flagged down EMS Lt. Barry Travis, who was on patrol, to tell him that there was a fire in the area. Lt. Travis radioed in the call to the dispatcher and immediately responded to the fire. Lt. Travis was the first person on the scene. He entered the four-story building with no protective gear; he began yelling and banging on doors alerting the residents to get out. Lt. Travis returned to the street and was met by Paramedics Lizcano and Smiley where he began to brief the paramedics. Suddenly, an elderly woman called for help from the 4th floor window and said she was about to jump. Paramedics Lizcano and Smiley raced into the building crawling up four smoked filled flights, past the third floor, which was engulfed in flames. Fearing the rapidly deteriorating conditions, Paramedic Smiley carried the weakened woman down the stairs in near darkness, amid the deafening noise of windows being blown out from the pressure of the fire on the third floor. Once outside the building, Paramedics Lizcano and Smiley began to treat the woman for difficulty in breathing and chest pains. After being treated on the scene the woman was transported to the hospital.
In addition to the top medals The Christopher J. Prescott Medal and The Tracy Allen-Lee Medal, which are both endowed by the EMTs and Paramedics Union Local 2507, five other medals were presented. The Chief James Scullion Medal, which is endowed by the Superior Officers Association, The Lieutenant Kirby McElhern Medal, which is endowed by the Lieutenants and Captains Union Local 3621 and The Jack Pintchik Medal, which has been endowed by the Pintchik family since 1984. Two commendations were also issued: the Medical Affairs Commendation and the Emergency Medical Dispatch Commendation.