The SFFD’s Ladder Shop


The San Francisco Fire Department is one of the most storied fire departments in the country, probably due to the 1906 earthquake and the resulting fires that incinerated nearly half of the city. An earthquake is basically just bad luck, and the city absolutely wasn’t prepared, but the reason it was only half of the city that burned was thanks to the SFFD. Ever since then, the city’s fire department has enjoyed VIP status amongst the civil services. Plus, y’know, it’s cool when they drive by and ring the bell.

Another reason we think they’re cool? They’re one of the few fire departments in the country that still make, use, and maintain their own wooden fire ladders. And while wooden ladders + actual fire may seem idiotic, there are actually quite a few reasons they’re used: they’re less likely to conduct electricity, don’t conduct heat, retain their strength when they’re exposed to heat, have a better resistance to flexing and bouncing, and are very durable. Downsides? They’re heavy, costly, and require regular maintenance, which is why the SFFD has their very own ladder shop.

Ever heard of a 100 year old ladder? We hadn’t either!