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Chief James Scullion Medal

October 10, 1997, 1326 hours
Franklin Avenue and Sterling Place, Brooklyn

William C. Tier
Paramedic William C. Tier

William C. Tier was appointed to EMS on June 15, 1987. Assigned to EMS Battalion 31. He is the recipient of 20 pre-hospital saves and two other citations. He resides in Brentwood, Long Island, with his wife, Ann.

Most New Yorkers know what the FDNY EMS Command does on a daily basis. They respond, 3000 times a day, to the usual assortment of calls for help--calls that may include heart attacks, strokes and motor vehicle accidents. However, most New Yorkers are unaware of the personal risk that some members take and the dangerous situations they may encounter, all in the name of providing life-saving care to the sick and injured. The latter was the case in Brooklyn on October 10, 1997. On a warm and remarkably slow day in October, Paramedics William Tier and Kathleen Gonczi had just returned to their station. With less than a half hour left on their shift, they figured their day was over. Just then, the radio blared out, "Medic 486 for the jumper down." They listened intently as the dispatcher called their unit to respond. While en route, Paramedic Tier thought about all the possibilities. The call location was a construction site and he imagined the worst. The potential for major injury and/or death was there. Upon their arrival at the scene, they noticed a large crowd had gathered outside of the protective, pre-fabricated walls at a demolition site. Among the crowd was a Basic Life Support unit. The unit members were interviewing bystanders regarding what had happened. It was then that Paramedic Tier made the decision that the EMS crews would enter the potentially dangerous site and attempt to reach the patient by climbing up and over the unstable heap. After entering the site and struggling to reach ground zero, Paramedic Tier could see immediately that things were not right. He noticed a worker lying on top of a mountainous pile of debris, overshadowed by the partially collapsed and now structurally unstable remains of an interior wall. It was obvious to him that some time earlier, the worker must have been on top of the wall when it collapsed beneath him. Paramedic Tier carefully began to scale the mound of rocks, plaster and debris as his partner began securing additional supplies needed for the removal. "At the time, I was in this emergency mode, I guess. Although I was aware of the danger, I was so focused on my patient and his condition that the danger didn’t matter at that moment," said Paramedic Tier. Once at the top of the mound, Paramedic Tier began to treat his victim, even as the remnants of what was once a building loomed ominously above his head, menacing him and threatening to collapse at any minute. The victim, although conscious, was confused and complaining of neck and back pain. He had several bruises, indicating possible serious internal injuries. Paramedic Tier feared the worst as he and his partner began to immobilize the victim. Once the board and collar were in place and the patient was secured, Paramedic Tier and his partner worked their way down the treacherous terrain to the ambulance. Moments later, they were en route to the hospital. Paramedic Tier continued treatment with the administration of IV fluids and high-concentration oxygen. For his prompt and heroic actions in the face of uncertainty, while disregarding his own personal safety in the process, Paramedic William Tier is awarded the Jack Pintchik Medal for 1997.--DB

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