Our History

EMS Worker Now Shuns Reality TV Disaster Series

Monday, November 12, 2001

An Emergency Medical Service paramedic promoted to paperwork dashed out with face mask and oxygen to help victims of Sept. 11. Now she remembers why she became an EMS worker, and she knows people are more important than paper.

Rebuilding New York: Women at Ground Zero

NEW YORK (WOMENSENEWS)--Before Sept. 11, Emergency Medical Service paramedic Tracy Mulqueen used to watch television to escape from the daily fare of pain and suffering and from memories of her helping efforts that sometimes failed. A show about New York EMS workers and firefighters, "Third Watch," used to be a favorite, but now that it incorporates episodes about the World Trade Center attack, she can no longer bear to watch.

"They are too realistic," she says looking at the broken skyline, missing the twin towers, from the eighth floor office of medical affairs of the New York Fire Department in Brooklyn. She once had a breathtaking view of the towers.

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Like most New Yorkers that morning, when the first hijacked airliner struck the World Trade Center, the 32-year-old paramedic was doing something mundane: She was cooking bacon in the office kitchen and couldn't immediately grasp what was happening.

"I heard people screaming and I heard something about flying. All I could think of was a bird had gotten loose in the building," Mulqueen recalls. "I had no clue."

After the second plane crashed, she ran for oxygen tanks, first aid kits, gauze masks, and headed out from the headquarters at 9 Metrotech Plaza. Adrenaline was pounding in her temples and Mulqueen says she lost time while getting out of Brooklyn and heading across the Manhattan Bridge.

By Chance, Delays, She Escaped Being Buried Alive

"My memory of leaving the office, getting the ambulance and heading downtown is blurred. I know that on the way to pick up the ambulance at the base of the Manhattan Bridge, I jumped out of my co-worker's car to direct traffic that wasn't letting us through. I would jump out and scream 'stop' and then get back into the car."

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