‘Tiller truck’ makes its debut after purchase by Sarasota County Fire Department

Vehicle has 100-foot aerial ladder, enabling crew to respond to emergencies at high-rise buildings

The Sarasota County Fire Department has added a tiller truck, “a specialized apparatus,” to its fleet, county staff has reported.

The vehicle began its service to the community on Monday, Feb. 27, county Emergency Services Department staff said.

“With greater maneuverability and adjustable stabilization,” as well as a 100-foot aerial ladder, a news release notes, “Sarasota County Fire Department’s new Truck 1 will allow for more versatile navigation of tight turns and narrow streets.”

Sarasota County Fire Chief David Rathbun pointed out in the release that the tiller will aid in responses to calls in downtown Sarasota, where more and more tall buildings have been constructed in recent years.

“Having a truck that can better maneuver through narrow streets and a ladder better suited for high-rise calls helps us respond to an emergency in a more efficient way and better serve our community in their time of need,” said Rathbun in the release.

“The tiller, which has a rear axle that is steered independently of the front axle, requires two drivers along with a dose of training, communication and teamwork,” the release explains.

Fire Department personnel assigned to Truck 1 received more than 80 hours of driver training on the apparatus, the release notes.

“It’s a unique apparatus to drive, so it’s important that our personnel are trained before the truck goes into service,” Rathbun added in the release. “Also learning the unique features of the truck is vital so they know exactly where everything is before responding to an emergency,” he said.

The specialized vehicle has storage room for additional ladders, “as well as important equipment for technical rescue and hazardous materials calls,” the release points out.

The tiller is housed at Fire Station 1 in downtown Sarasota, which stands at 1445 Fourth St.

(For a photo of the truck, see the News Leader‘s Facebook page.)