16 EMTs graduate from Charleston County’s first EMS Academy

The first class of emergency medical technicians from Charleston County’s EMS Academy are ready to start saving lives.
Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 3:21 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 3, 2023 at 5:17 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - The first class of emergency medical technicians from Charleston County’s EMS Academy are ready to start saving lives.

Charleston County’s first EMS Academy wrapped up Friday morning with a graduation ceremony.

The purpose of the program was to fill vacancies, and it was successful, with a 100% pass rate and 16 new EMTs.

The students enrolled had no previous medical experience, were paid for the training and are all now Charleston County EMS employees, filling all EMT basic positions.

Valediction Christopher Chaplin says the academy is the perfect pathway into the medical industry, and it was something that he felt called to do.

“It is providing that support that a lot of people need to just get into it, so I think that’s a barrier that a lot of people have to make that leap is that support and the county provides that,” he said.

Applicants are currently being processed for 14 paramedic open positions.

Chief EMS Director David Abrams says two years ago they expanded to add 60 full-time employees and are now looking towards adding more ambulances.

Eight additional ambulances have just been ordered to add to their fleet, and another four are getting wrapped, or labeled, before they hit the streets.

“If I had as many ambulances as I wanted, and as many people as I wanted, I’d have an ambulance on every corner,” Abrams said. “Obviously, you can’t do that, so we’re trying to do the best we can with what we have, and we’re trying to not use a national shortage as an excuse but look at this as an opportunity for what can we do for our county, and I would say that what we’re experiencing is just trying to find new ways to create opportunities.”

Abrams says they want to continue adding more resources, such as the academy, to this department.

“We’ve been looking for ways to better engage the community and provide opportunities not just within EMS and the county, but also to allow the public to find a way and a path forward to getting into county government and public service,” he said.

Abrams says they plan to continue hosting the EMS Academy, eventually three times a year.

Applications for the second academy that will start in September, will open online in the coming days.