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Lieutenant Kirby McElhearn Medal

March 8, 1997, 1229 hours
Congress and Hicks Streets, Brooklyn

EMT-D: Jose Perez

EMT-D: Patrick G. McKiernan

Jose Perez was appointed to EMS on July 22, 1996. Assigned to EMS Battalion 35. Member of the Hispanic Society. Resides in Howard Beach.

Jose Perez

Patrick G. McKiernan was appointed to EMS on July 19, 1993. Assigned to EMS Battalion 31. Cited on 10 previous occasions. Member of the FDNY baseball team. Resides in Flushing with his wife, Donna, an FDNY EMT, assigned to EMS Battalion 44.

Patrick G. McKiernan

Just after noontime on a cold and clear day in March 1997, EMTs Patrick McKiernan and Jose Perez were driving their ambulance through the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn. As they reached the corner of Congress Street and Hicks Street, they were flagged down by excited civilians who were waving them toward the scene of a motor vehicle accident. One car involved in the incident was engulfed in flames with heavy, black smoke spewing from the vehicle. In the other car, a female was frozen in hysterical panic, unable to move. Without hesitation, both EMTs jumped from the ambulance, ran to the accident and started to assess the victim. EMTs McKiernan and Perez were aware that moving their patient out of harm’s way was the highest priority. However, they knew that moving her too quickly could exacerbate any injuries she might have suffered. With smoke obscuring their vision and feeling the extreme heat from the burning car on their backs, they carefully placed a cervical collar on the woman. All the while the patient was being worked on, small popping explosions were heard coming from the burning car. Although fearing that the gas tank could explode or that the victim’s car could be involved in the fire, EMTs Perez and McKiernan persevered. Simultaneously, they tried to keep the growing crowd of onlookers away from the danger zone. Finally, once the woman was stabilized, EMTs Perez and McKiernan extricated her from the vehicle. Once outside the car, the two tended to her facial cuts, as well as her neck and back injuries. Subsequently, she was transported to the hospital. EMTs Patrick McKiernan and Jose Perez acted quickly and with the highest degree of professionalism. Without concern for their personal safety, they placed themselves in a dangerous position to rescue an injured person from a burning vehicle. For their brave actions, EMT-Ds Jose Perez and Patrick McKiernan are presented with the Lieutenant Kirby McElhearn Medal for 1997.-- BDG


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