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South Nassau Communities Hospital

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South Nassau Communities Hospital Employees Honored for Life-Saving Actions

Mr. Madera and Ms. Gornicz were the first to arrive in a patient's room, where a small fire had been started by a patient a little after 9pm on May 1, 2015,

Oceanside, NY, May 28, 2016 --( Two South Nassau Communities Hospital employees - Anna Gornicz and Jose Madera - were honored by the Nassau County Fire Commission with its 2016 Civilian Award for their heroic and swift action to extinguish a fire in a patient care area of the hospital.

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and fire officials presented the awards during a ceremony Wednesday (4/27) at the Nassau County Firefighters Museum in Garden City.

"South Nassau is proud and thankful that Anna and Jose followed their training to bravely and rapidly act to protect patients," said Richard J. Murphy, South Nassau's President & CEO. "We always say we put patients first at South Nassau. The actions of Jose and Anna demonstrated that commitment in a crisis situation."

Nassau fire officials also lauded their actions. "The (Fire) Commission finds that the actions and service of Ms. Gornicz and Mr. Madera at this incident were commendable and in the highest traditions of service to ones fellow man, and we extend our sincere congratulations to them," added James Mezey, Jr., Chairman, Nassau County Fire Commission.

A little after 9 p.m. on May 1, 2015, Mr. Madera (a resident of Freeport) who had been arranging chairs in the hospital's Conference Center, responded to the piercing sound of a smoke alarm coming from the first floor of the hospital. He and Ms. Gornicz (a resident of West Hempstead) were the first to arrive in a patient's room, where a small fire had been started by a patient who set fire to plastic items on a patient over-bed table.

Working in concert with other hospital staff members, Ms. Gornicz and Mr. Madera organized a seamless and safe evacuation of the patients--who were unharmed-into the hallway. Then Ms. Gornicz and Mr. Madera went back into the room with a blanket to smother the flames and a fire extinguisher to put out the fire. After extinguishing the fire, Gornicz and Madera quickly and astutely closed the patient room door to limit smoke from spreading throughout the patient care unit and impacting other any patient.

"Were it not for the appropriate actions by Anna Gornicz and Jose Madera, there may have been a worse outcome for both patients and possibly others," said Joseph Mihalich, South Nassau's director of Facilities Management.

For Mr. Madera, an Environmental Services Lead Aide who joined South Nassau 27 years ago, ensuring that patients are out of harm's way is a priority. "When the patients are safe, you feel happy," he said.
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South Nassau Communities Hospital
Damian J. Becker

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