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Why the San Francisco Fire Department uses handmade wooden ladders


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When the going gets tough, the tough rely on handmade wooden ladders.

I found myself wondering why. The answer is: doesn't conduct electricity, and easy to maneuver:

The Northern California city is infamous for its tightly packed roads and low-hanging power lines. San Francisco's cramped quarters make the wooden ladders a "necessity". Compared to their aluminum counterparts, these ladders don't conduct electricity and are easy to maneuver in small spaces.

The coolest part? The SF Fire Department has its own in-house ladder manufacturer, the only city that can say that. The ladders are made from Douglas fir trees, and the lumber matures for at least 15 years so it can acclimate to the city's humid conditions. That's just the beginning of a life that can last for decades.

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