Thursday, August 22, 2013
Firefighter Bethany Stephenson, 25, of Moncks Corner, joined the Summerville Fire Department in 2010. It was a family tradition. Her dad is Chief of the Whitesville Fire Department, her mom, a paramedic with Berkeley County EMS, volunteers with Whitesville and her brother is an engineer with Summerville Fire Department.
Homeschooled, Stephenson graduated Miller-Motte with an Associate’s Degree in therapeutic massage.
Stephenson rides the back of the truck and, although there are front-facing seats at the back of the newer trucks, she prefers to ride backwards.
At a fire scene, depending on when her truck arrives, she functions as either RIT, water supply, back up or D side investigation.
She has trained to Firefighter II level and in pump operations. She is also an EMT-Basic. She has taken National Incident Management (NIMs) courses to understand the structure of fighting a fire, how to run a scene, who is in charge and the difference between the branches and groups, she says.
When not on her 24/48-hour schedule with SFD, she works part time as an EMT volunteer for Berkeley County, part-time for Whitesville and part time in massage therapy.
She is engaged to be married and planning a March wedding. Her fiancé also works for SFD.
Most of her bad calls, she says, have been with Whitesville. The worst was a pediatric full arrest…they couldn’t save the infant.
Her good calls? “If people come out of it and are okay, then those are good calls,” she says. “If it doesn’t ruin someone’s life then it’s a good day.”
Stephenson lives at home with two dogs – a chocolate and a black lab – who are “spoiled rotten.”
She loves to hunt and eats the meat. She loves fishing but doesn’t like fish so all her fishing is strictly catch and release. She especially enjoys spending time with her family.
“I love my family, they’re the greatest,” she says.
“Most of my ‘spare’ time I am involved in something,” she says, “and most of my friends I consider my family.”
Stephenson hopes to slowly work her way up to captain some day “but I am in no hurry…I like to ride backwards!”
And some day, she would like to start a family. “I am in no rush for that either,” she laughs.
She and her fiancé work different shifts and see each other every third day.
Do they worry about each other?
“He’s got a good head and has been around this a long time so I am not too worried…I am pretty comfortable around it [the danger] it is second nature to me, I grew up with it.”
However, if it takes either of them too long to respond to a voice message or text she says they might start to worry about the other…just a bit.