SANTA MARIA, Calif. - There are 15 firefighters on duty 24 hours a day in the City of Santa Maria which has a population of well over 100,000.
It's the start of a 24-hour shift for Santa Maria City firefighter Jeremy Mace as he goes through the routine of checking his gear and the various equipment he relies on to do his job.
"Here at Station 1 we have the three apparatus that we are responsible for with only a staff of three to take care of," Mace said. "We run first out with the truck, that is Truck 1."
With more than three years on the job, Mace and his fellow firefighters are ready for any call that comes in.
"It's hard work, it's mentally tasking, you know, a lot of our nights are sleepless nights," Mace said. "We work 24 hours so from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. When the majority of people are sleeping, we're out there running calls for service."
Those calls for service include responding to nasty car wrecks.
Firefighters are often first on scene in lifesaving situations and have the grim task of removing victims from mangled vehicles.
Because of the trauma they encounter on the job, PTSD counseling is available year-round for the firefighters.
"It is one of the most rewarding jobs but I don't think anyone in this department will tell you that's why we do the job", Mace said. "We really take pride in putting ourselves out there as civil servants and taking care of people 24 hours a day."
Putting out fires and emergency response is what firefighters train and prepare for, something Jeremy Mace says he's wanted to do since he was a kid.
"To work alongside people I really respect, to do something for others in sometimes there most serious situations", Mace said. "They call 911 when they are the most hopeless, and its a service that we can provide in their time of need."
Early next year the Santa Maria City Fire Department gets a special delivery -- a new, more modern fire truck everyone in the department is excited about so they can continue to get the job done.