HONOLULU (KHON2) — The City’s been dealing with a shortage of Emergency Medical Technicians for years. They are hoping the Emergency Medical Academy will help solve that problem.

This is the third class of recruits from the City’s Emergency Medical Academy. The city kicked off it’s third class of recruits at the Emergency Medical Services Academy on Tuesday, July 5th.

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The program was reinstated in 2021, after a 10 year hiatus, to help recruit EMT’s.

Jane Cabusao, one of the 20 EMS Academy recruits in the current class, said she was ecstatic when she found out she was accepted.

“This is what I want to do,” Cabusao explained. “I want to be there and help serve and support the community.”

Cabusao said she’s been in the military for 14 years and has some medical training but she wanted to have more hands on experience.

EMS Academy recruit Duke Fujii said he’s wanted to serve the community in some way since he was a kid.

“I grew up with a lot of first responders so I decided to do step out and try to see what I can do and EMS was the first thing I thought of,” Fujii said.

Fujii is also familiar with the medical field. He just graduated from UH Manoa in the spring with a degree in kinesiology.

According to Matt Lamke, the Honolulu Emergency Services Department training supervisor, many of the students have some medical background, but it’s not necessary. Lamke said the only requirements are a high school diploma and a CPR card.

Recruits will go through training over the next five to six months working toward their EMT certificate.

The task at hand Wednesday — operating the ambulance.

Driving safely is a very important part of the job and the recruit’s ability to master certain driving techniques will determine whether or not they can continue in the program.

Cabusao passed her driving test with flying colors.

“I was really nervous cause I wasn’t expecting to get tested today,” she said. “I passed and they said I was the first one to pass the fastest.”

Lamke said the academy has an 80-90% pass rate.

And since the recruits are already city employees, there’s no question whether they qualify for the job after graduation.

Lamke said they received more than 800 applicants to the academy before it was narrowed down.

One of the big perks for those accepted — they make up to $48,000 a year as a city employee studying to get their EMT certificate. Once they pass a test to get their license, the pay can be bumped up to $52,000.

“This is a very unique opportunity because they are actually able to be hired through the city and they’re receiving a paycheck as a recruit,” Lamke explained.

Fujii said that was definitely one of the things that caught his attention when he was deciding what to do.

He’d encourage anyone interested in the medical field to consider being an EMT.

“I say, just go for it cause you never know what is gong to happen.”

Lamke said he’s been with EMS for 20 years and has had a rewarding career.

“I just can’t picture myself doing anything else,” he said. “Anybody who’s interested in doing this, we’re looking for highly motivated people, who are up for the challenge.”

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The next Academy is expected to begin next summer. Interested applicants should check the city’s website in late summer, early fall.