The San Francisco Fire Department Still Uses Wooden Ladders Exclusively They Build Them As Well – This Great Video Tells The Tale


The San Francisco Fire Department Still Uses Wooden Ladders Exclusively They Build Them As Well – This Great Video Tells The Tale

This is the kind of stuff we live for around here. The four minute video below talks about something that we never knew existed before we saw it and that is the fact that the San Francisco Fire Department uses wooden ladders on all of their trucks to this day and they have a shop that is a part of the operation that makes them from scratch. Ladders that were built in 1918 are still in service today and they continue to build new ones in the same style and with the same basic tools and pride of the old ones. Why do they use wooden ladders? There are low high tension wires all over the city, there are tight quarters, and the bottom line is that these things are a proven commodity. In an age where we can’t do things fast enough or cheap enough, this is running 100% counter to that mentality and we love it.

There are elements in this video that will give you chills. The log book that was started with ladder one in 1918 is still in use today documenting every piece of equipment that the shop builds. They are simple devices but vitally important. Over the years thousands of firefighters and people have scaled these ladders and they have never had a failure according to the video. You will see a ladder that is over 80 years old and still in service getting repaired at the shop to be put back on a truck. The wood they use to build and repair them is (at minimum) seasoned for 15 years at the shop before use.

There will surely be people that may read or see this video and complain that the city is wasting money, that everyone else is using aluminum ladders (made where, again?), that there is no need to be paying a couple of guys to work in a shop rehabbing equipment that was built about the time WWI started but as far as we are concerned, those people can stuff it. Craftsmanship, pride, and the reverence for the product being produced were elements in the greatest things this country has ever produced. These guys care about what they are doing and they care about the people who will use these tools at their (very) dangerous jobs. We loved the hell out of this video and bet you will, too.

PRESS PLAY BELOW TO SEE WHY THE SFFD STILL USES WOODEN LADDERS –


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5 thoughts on “The San Francisco Fire Department Still Uses Wooden Ladders Exclusively They Build Them As Well – This Great Video Tells The Tale

  1. Chevy Hatin' Mad Geordie

    I love watching real craftsmen at work. This is uplifting stuff and is pure pleasure that also saves lives. All that’s missing is the lads from the SFFD extricating an acid-raddled Haight Ashbury resident from the tree that started talking to him…

  2. Hemi Joel

    The craftsmanship is awesome, and it is all very quaint. But if I was a taxpayer there, knowing that I was paying probably 100-200K per year for a to carve ladders out of wood, I’d go ballistic. How much $$ per ladder?

    1. cool

      They said $100 per foot. I see *50ft* stenciled on most of those ladders. So, $5,000 per ladder.

  3. Willy White

    I’m glad they are keeping the craft alive. The ladders are just as an important piece of equipment as the trucks and the pumps that are hooked to them. I’ld venture to say that the mechanics out there make 100k because of the cost of living.

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