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.
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.
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 harms 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 victims 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