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Hall Ambulance EMT graduates responding to the critical EMT shortage

Eleven graduates completed the training program on Tuesday
Posted at 4:41 PM, May 16, 2024

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — A new class of graduates will respond to 911 calls, helping to ease the burden of the EMT shortage in our community.

  • Video shows one Hall EMT academy graduate learning about the equipment in the ambulance
  • Drew Rubado, one of the Hall EMT graduates, says their training program allowed him to pursue a new career and help the community.

Within minutes, Hall Ambulance EMTs take ambulances across the city to respond to medical emergencies, and now a new class of graduates will respond to 911 calls, helping to ease the burden of the EMT shortage in our community.
Hall Ambulance sounded the alarm Tuesday, but for a good reason.

Almost a dozen recruits graduated from the 46th EMT Academy.

Drew Rubado is one of them.

“It’s just really important to me that people might be having their worst day, and hopefully I can make that day just a little bit better,” Rubado said.

Rubado says after working as a wildland firefighter and outdoor schoolteacher near Yosemite, he began looking for a career change.

However, the time and cost of starting EMT training made that transition difficult.

“It’s really easy to think you’re just stuck where you are,” he tells me.

Rubado learned about the program from his wife’s grandpa and moved to Bakersfield to enroll in the free, paid EMT training program offered by Hall Ambulance.

“When you have programs that are like these, they really allow you to branch out and kind of go kind of where your heart’s telling you to go.”

Rubado is one of 11 recruits who completed ten weeks of training.

“I kind of came alive mixing that patient interaction with that medical like that little puzzle where I’m trying to think on my feet,” he said.

Mark Corum with Hall Ambulance says it’s an effort by the company since 2001 to address the critical EMT shortage.

“There has been a shortage in Kern County, not just in our community but statewide and even nationwide,” Corum said.

According to data from the American Ambulance Association, the overall turnover among paramedics and EMTs ranges from 20 to 30% annually.

Corum adds the pandemic worsened that shortage.

“COVID was very tough, healthcare, we saw a lot of people nurses, doctors, EMTs, paramedics, dispatchers that became burnt out," he said. "It was just overwhelming.”

Corum adds it puts additional pressure internally to shorten response times, but making training accessible for recruits can change that.

Rubado says while studying he heard a quote that will guide him through the beginning of his career as an EMT.

“You study for that one moment where you’re in between the patient and the grave.”

You will begin seeing these graduates responding to 911 calls sometime this summer.

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