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Behind the wheels of Santa Maria’s new fire truck

As Santa Maria continues to grow, firefighters are rolling out a new tool to help them better serve the community.

First responders are getting up to speed on a new tricked out apparatus that they say can maneuver more efficiently around town.

If you thought parallel parking was daunting when you were 16, you should check out the driving tests going on at the Santa Maria Airport.

“It’s night and day. Once you kind of get comfortable driving a bigger vehicle such as an engine or the straight axle truck that we have now, coming to this is a totally different beast,” said Firefighter AJ Tevis, Santa Maria Fire Department.

Santa Maria Firefighters must complete 40 hours of training in the classroom, on a course, and on city streets, behind the wheels of “Truck One.”

“This is like driving a tractor trailer. That’s what we’ve been preaching to the guys on the floor. Not only are you worried about the front part, but you’re also worried about the back trailer part, so it’s definitely longer, there’s more moving parts. It’s a different expertise,” said Tevis.

The new $1.5 million Tractor-Drawn Aerial Ladder Quint has not one but two driver’s seats.

“The front driver has all the capabilities to maneuver on normal city streets and things like that, but when we get into those tight spots, that rear driver is there to assist and make sure that tractor goes in the appropriate direction,” said Battalion Chief Anthony Clayburg, Santa Maria Fire Department.

Firefighters say that maneuverability is the biggest difference between their new toy, which is about 20 feet longer than the truck their about to retire.

“This has its own pump, it carries up to 300 gallons of water and has a firehose, normal truck companies do not carry any of those,” said Clayburg.

“Throughout the city of Santa Maria we’ve had a bunch of new development, new construction, so it will make our jobs easier as far as access for the tighter spots that we have,” said Tevis.

SMFD crews are on week five of training out of six, and after that, Truck One will call Station One home.

The new fire truck was made possible by an Assistance to Firefighters Grant.

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