Featured Female First Responder: Carly

"Stay strong!"

Tell us a little about you. 
I grew up in south Louisiana and have lived in the south all my life. I have been an EMS for almost 10 years and I currently work in 911/dispatch for East Baton Rouge EMS. We intake all 911 calls and dispatch medical. I work nights, and am either taking 911 or dispatching, and I also dispatch special events such as parades. We stay busy and I enjoy the challenge of multitasking. I love to work out and will be competing in my first body building competitions in the fall. I have two dogs, who are my children, and my stress relief from work. I will also be obtaining my paramedic and nursing degrees in the coming years. 
What got you interested in the field you work in?
Did you always want to be a first responder? 
I initially did not consider a career in EMS, however while taking a nursing course in high school, a paramedic dropping a patient off in the ED took me out to the truck and told me about what he does. Before that, I never had much exposure to what they truly do. I was hooked since then. 
Are there any mentors that have shaped your life
and your passion for your work?
I have had many mentors in my career, not just paramedics. I have been inspired and motivated by paramedics, nurses, and even respiratory therapists to continue my education and to be better for the community I serve everyday. 
What has been your proudest moment so far as a First Responder? 
I cannot think of one specific moment, however, everyday I can help educate someone is a proud moment. It means that my knowledge and experience has helped someone else become better. I enjoy teaching others and sharing what has been taught to me. 
What advice would you give to the
next generation of Female First Responders?
I think of Rosie the Riveter. Stay strong. Don't let a male dominated field intimidate you. Not only can we do it, we can probably do it better!
Are there any organizations or events you are passionate about?
I am partial to organizations that give back to first responders. I am currently training for a 450 mile bike ride from Louisiana to Alabama in memory of 12 first responders that have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the Gulf Coast Brotherhood Ride. I am proud to know that I am giving back to those who gave their all. 
What advice would you give to anyone (male or female)
who wants to help people and become a first Responder?
Call around to your local agencies and see if they have an explorer program or will allow you to do a ride along. EBR EMS has an explorer program that certifies high school aged students as first responders and gives them the opportunity to ride with our paramedics. It gives them a true inside look into the field to help them decide if they want to pursue a career in EMS.