Friday, March 28, 2014
Paramedic Sara Cullinane, 28, of Summerville, has been with DCEMS for five and a half years. Now a Crew Chief, she says she was a Navy brat who moved around throughout her childhood.
However, she claims Minnesota as her “home,” having graduated high school in North St. Paul.
“But I used to live here when I was a kid,” she smiles. In fact, some may remember her, as her mom was the president of Flowertown Players.
When her dad retired from the Navy, they came back to Summerville “because they loved the area.”
Sara came with them.
“I worked random jobs and thought, ‘What am I going to do with my life?’”
“I liked ambulances,” she continues, “and I told my mom ‘I just want to be on an ambulance.’ She signed me up at Trident for Basic EMT. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”
DCEMS allowed her to go to Intermediate EMT school with Lowcountry Regional EMS and then sent her to Lowcountry for paramedic training.
All that training leaves little time for anything else, she says.
“I work a 24-hour shift, then have class the next day, then a ride-along the next day, then another 24-hour shift. It’s been like that for a year. It’s been the toughest year, but worth it, totally worth it.”
Cullinane also has had basic firefighting training with the Ashley River Fire Department where she used to volunteer. She is also trained in low angle rope rescue and is planning on taking the next available Firefighter 1 training.
Her worst experience was her first full arrest (heart stopped). “I had a 5-day-old [die] when I was still a basic…that was very hard. Another tough one was a bad car crash she responded to as a paramedic where a 5-year-old had flown through the window because the child was unrestrained. The parents – who were wearing their seatbelts – walked away from the wreck; the child was flown to MUSC via helicopter and died a week later.
Her best was her first delivery. “It was completely unexpected…the mom thought she had hemorrhoids! It was amazing. There is nothing like being in a room with a bunch of people and suddenly there’s a new person in the room…it is the most amazing thing.”
Her professional goal is not yet perfectly clear. “I may want to go to nursing school but my work schedule makes it tough to do a regular college program. Or,” she smiles, “maybe do something crazy like go to Europe and work my way around.” She says she loves doing things that are labor-focused, using her hands.
“I love having to climb down into a ditch trying to help a patient…love it.”
Cullinane and her partner Sarah were married in D.C. and have no children…yet. They do, however, have two canine kids – Koda, a Golden and Tivo, a mutt.
She enjoys hanging out with friends and they love going to the movies.
“I’m a big movie buff. I like dramas but will go see anything.”
She likes to travel and loves to camp. She also enjoys trying her hand at cooking. “I like Pinterest telling me all these recipes that I can try.”
Cullinane used to swim competitively and won lots of trophies, she says.
She also played soccer, basketball and softball.
She enjoys playing with her dogs and spends a lot of time cleaning fur from the house.
Her life goal is to have a family and progress further in medicine.
“I love to read,” she adds, “but sleep is my favorite thing.”
It’s no wonder.