Samantha Rackley, nail technician. In her other life: firefighter and emergency medical technician.
“Helping people is the number-one reason I do this work, but I can’t deny the great feeling of the adrenaline rush,” says Samantha Rackley, who in addition to being a nail tech, has been an emergency medical technician for more than 15 years and a firefighter for one year. She began preparing for this challenging career early in life. “My father was a firefighter and EMT, so when I was a little girl I wanted to be just like him,” she says. “I joined the firefighter cadets when I was 8 years old and was certified as an EMT when I was 16.”
Being a firefighter is grueling work. “My monthly training for firefighting is extremely hot and physically demanding, but at the end of a training session I look back and think, ‘Wow! I did that?’ It always amazes me how a group of people can come together and work as one unit,” she says.
It’s challenging, she admits, to work with a lot of guys. “Yes, I am female, have long hair, and wear artificial nails, but when push comes to shove, I will be someone you can count on,” she says. “My nail clients often ask me how I can be a firefighter/EMT without breaking any nails. I tell them that I have learned to use the sides of my fingers to lift or pick things up.
“What I like about my job is at the end of the day I know I made a difference in someone’s life. It might be something as difficult as saving someone’s life or as easy as teaching fire safety. When the ‘tones’ go off, you don’t know where you are going or what will be there for you when you get there. Every day is exciting and challenging.”