It’s so much more than the lights and sirens.
That’s how 32-year-old Paramedic Kayla Lynch describes her job with Sumter County Emergency Medical Services.
A lot more goes on than just driving a patient to the hospital.
“It can be a mini-hospital for certain needs,” she said. “We can intervene and if your blood pressure is too low, we can fix that. If you have an irregular heart rate we can fix that.”
When Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians are answering calls for service, they’re doing their ample best to save lives.
“We always try,” she said. “If there’s something we can do, we will try.”
Lynch was born and raised in Sumter and attended Wilson Hall all the way from kindergarten through high school, graduating in 2006. She then started work on a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis on Management. She had worked at IGA for seven years, starting as cashier and working her way up to head bookkeeper, so she had a good feel for the world of business and retail.
As she neared completion on her degree, she realized retail “wasn’t necessarily my favorite thing anymore,” but she was also already close to earning her degree through USC-Aiken’s satellite program and decided to complete her course load, she said.
Not long after she earned her degree, her husband Jason Lynch enrolled in EMT School at Central Carolina Technical College and she decided to enroll as well.
“So I went to EMT school with him just to go,” she said. “It was at night and I was available, so why not?”
After they both finished, she considered pursuing a nursing degree, “but then I was like – never mind, I’ve had enough school,” she said, laughing. “I’ve had enough papers.”
So she started working for a transportation company and gained a basic understanding of patient care. Her husband decided he wanted to progress his career and advance his education by achieving the next step: becoming a Paramedic.
“And I was like – you know what? I am enjoying myself being an EMT so I’ll go with you,” she said. “So again we went to school together.”
Achieving the next rung on the ladder was not an easy task, she said, and requires many hours of work and study capped by rigorous testing.
Once she and her husband were done, though, she found her calling.
“This job can be very rewarding – you get to help from the basic needs of lifting assistance all the way up to saving somebody’s life,” she said.
Certainly there are difficult times and challenging calls, she acknowledges.
But there’s times that you’re genuinely helping out, she said, and making a difference.
“Grandma fell and just needs lifting assistance and she’s the nicest, sweetest lady you ever meet and you get to help her,” is just one example, she said. “I enjoy any time someone is grateful for us. That’s always rewarding. And even if they’re not, you’ve made a change in their life. It’s a reward in itself.”
Chief Bobby Hingst, Sumter County’s EMS Director, said Kayla Lynch sets a solid example every shift she works.
“She’s always reliable and her work ethic is impressive,” he said. “She goes above and beyond in serving her community and I’m proud to work alongside her.”
Lynch said when she and her husband have down time they enjoy visiting Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.
“That is our favorite thing to do,” she said, as they’re annual pass holders. “We go probably every other month.”
One simple pleasure that they’ve found to be an excellent source of rejuvenation are evening walks.
“We do like to take evening walks. It sounds corny,” she said, “but it helps as a de-stressor and to keep motivated.”