National Public EMS Week is May 21-27, and Buncombe County is celebrating by profiling some of our team. Emergency care is challenging, takes a variety of skills, and is a difficult field that is not for everyone. Buncombe County is honored to highlight some of our EMS team in their own words as we celebrate National Public EMS Week. Thank you for your passion and commitment to keeping our community safe.
Name: Zach Manley
Years working in EMS (for Buncombe and other experience): 10 years
What made you want to work in EMS?
I come from a family of medical and first responders: Mom (Nurse), Dad (Fire Chief, EMT-I), Grandfather (Assistant Chief), Uncle (Paramedic, PA), and Aunt (Nurse). Growing up around people who are constantly helping others encouraged me to do the same.
What is your favorite part of the job?
I love that we go to the worst-case scenario, somebodie's worst day of their life, and proceed to make it a better day. At times we literally bring people back to live a longer life, and then sometimes all we can accomplish is being a kind person to a stranger that could completely change their day. Our job is dynamic and always changing and it makes for an experience you never forget.
What is a misconception of your job?
That we can fix all. We show up and do our best but sometimes all we can offer is condolences and nothing more. But we are the person that will do everything in our knowledge to help people when we can.
What would you like the public to know about your job?
I want people to know that we do have compassion even when it seems like we are heartless. People come to us thinking we are callous and heartless because we don't react how they expect us to act. I promise we are caring and concerned, but we are thinking about so much while in a serious situation: "What drugs do I need to give this person?," "Do I need someone in the back to help me care for the patient?," "Do I need to call someone who isn't here for more help?," "Do I need to call the hospital now?," "What is causing all this?," or "Will this person live long enough to get to the truck or do I need to bring tools in the house NOW?"
Also, I will admit that we are tired. We work 12-96+ hour shifts and at times we simply don't have the energy to show the response a patient or family member would find appropriate. I will promise you again every medic does care, they would not have become a medic if they didn't care.