Having the ability to cope with an adrenaline rush, quickly make decisions and maintain a level of professionalism is all a part of the job for wife, mom of four and Bryan County Emergency Services EMT-I Amy Mason.
As a child, it was clear when in unique emergency situations she had the ability to cope and react. Performing the Heimlich Maneuver while babysitting or being the first on scene at an accident; each moment in life that couldn’t have been more than preparation for what would come many years later. These situations as well as growing up with her brother Matthew, who lives with Down Syndrome, have played a role in preparing her for her career as an EMT.
Mason grew up a military brat and moved often. When her step-father retired it relocated and rooted their family to Liberty County, Georgia. She and husband Charlie, a local mechanic in Richmond Hill bought their own land in 2002. After working 13 years for Wal-Mart and capping out there, her desire to persue Emergency Services felt like the right time. She attended Savannah Tech where she obtained her certification to be an Emergency Medical Technician Intermediate (EMT-I) in 2007. It felt like the right time and fit for her career as her journey with Wal-Mart ended and a new one with BCES began in May of 2008.
She admits she felt green when starting out but was eager to jump in and get to work. Eventually the green would fade and a seasoned EMT would emerge. Shortly after taking a full-time position with Bryan County Emergency Services (BCES), Mason discovered she was pregnant with her fourth child. Now children Katie, 17, Noel, 14, Abbie, 12 and Noah, 5, get to see their mom more than ever. "I love that it allows me to spend more time with my family. They see me more now than they ever did before," said Mason.
"An EMT or emergency medical technician/ambulance technician is a trained clinician that operates as part of an emergency medical service and provides emergency care to patients who are experiencing a trauma, severe injury or illness that requires immediate emergency care." (nursetheory.com) Ultimately, Mason loves everything about this description and working under pressure. Over the years she he has worked along-side many incredible paramedics. Each have passed on wisdom, but one stands out for Mason. Local paramedic, and longtime employee of Bryan County Emergency Services, Patty Phillips from Station 1.
"We were so in-sync that there were times we handled patients and no words were spoken. She was not only my partner but my friend. We have a relationship outside of work, she and I are great friends," said Mason. She aspires to one day become a paramedic and has plans to do so in the coming years.
"I like that it is different every day and the pace always changes. I know I am never going to have the same day twice. I might have the same patients, but certainly not the same days. I love the challenge of putting your skills to the test," said Mason. Along with her EMT-I, she is firefighter trained and can perform the basic duties of a fire fighter when needed.
As the work changes so does the department for which Mason is excited to see what the future holds. With the newly built Station 2, employees can now enjoy a beautiful common area with indoor kitchen as well as bathrooms, laundry and private rooms. Before the structural changes came change through leadership. "The biggest thing Fire Chief Freddy Howell has implemented is the process of orientation of new hires. The communication has been huge and he is trying to keep us all on the same page. The communication is necessary and he holds us accountable, which is equally important" said Mason. There is still a lot to be done within the stations across the county, but progress is being made.
Despite the obvious subjection to emergency situations and what those bring, Mason has been blessed by her patients and loves seeing them come through and do well. "One particular, a veteran and his wife who was at her wits end as a caregiver. He was taken care of but her ability to care for him had come to a crossroads. We got her in touch with the Veteran Affairs (VA) and they built him an addition to his house, wheelchair ramp, and a handicap accessible shower. It was so nice to see this happen and help beyond taking someone to the emergency room. She got the resources she needed to better care for him and he has a better quality of life," said Mason.
Mason is one of the many faces across Bryan County Emergency Services. She along with the more than 50 BCES employees all play a role in keeping the community safe. "I love working here. You must take a deep breath and mentally prepare for the spurts of when you experience death. It is sad, but you have to keep your composer and be professional," said Mason. She knows she could not do any of this without the love and full support of her husband.