Scathing Audit: Honolulu Ambulance Service Lacking

Michael Levine/Civil Beat

On a recent Monday, two Honolulu paramedics asked to come in eight hours early and work a double shift on their Kuakini-based ambulance.

For most people, that might sound like a very long workday, but to Kay Tomasa and Dawne Tsuha, a 16-hour haul was preferable to the possibility of getting "stuck" with a surprise extra graveyard shift at the end of the night.

The request to work a "pre" was denied, but both Tomasa and Tsuha avoided getting stuck at the end of their day, and went home after working their normal 3 p.m.-to-11 p.m. shift.

"It has been good lately. It really has," Tomasa told Civil Beat during that ridealong.

"Overtime has been dry," Tsuha said.

Things weren't always that way in the Honolulu Emergency Services Department. A scathing audit released earlier this month says that despite millions of dollars in overtime pay in recent years, city ambulances have still struggled to respond quickly to emergency calls.

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