I found this interesting: Firetruck Ladders

MsDebbieP
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Toxins Out, Nature In - body/mind/spirit

Very interesting read, Thanks for posting this. I have a couple old wood extension ladders myself I think I’ll look at them a little differently now.

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

Those are pretty cool MsDebbieP, thanks for posting it.

Interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Losing fingers since 1969

I borrowed a wooden ext ladder from a retired Line man. He got it when the local electric utility abandoned wooden ladders in favor of fiberglass. It was a ball-buster. VERY heavy.

I am a firefighter and we use aluminum ladders. Much lighter for the load they can carry. Our ladders, (and all fire department ladders), have stickers on them that change color if exposed to high heat, I’ve never seen one fail.

Wood ladders may have their place, but I think the article is romanticizing.

BJ

BJ

Gonna have to disagree with you a bit BJ. I’ve seen far more catastrophic failures with aluminum ladders than wood. Wood gives some warning before failing while aluminum does not. I was far more comfortable on wooden ladders than aluminum. That being said, aluminum certainly has a better strength to weight factor than wood. Wood ladders are certainly heavier. Try doing a church raise with a wood 45’ bangor…….

The heat indicators are a relatively new addition, they were introduced and required in the mid to late ’80s. Prior to that, as long as the ladder was still straight is stayed in service.

Given San Francisco’s unique circumstances, wood isn’t romantic it’s survival.

Artisan Woodworks of Texas- www.awwtx.com

Bill,
I don’t have any experience using wood ladders on the fireground, my departments been using aluminum since before I was hired.
Weight is a big issue for me. We used to count on having 3 firefighters to raise a 35’ ladder. With reduced staffing it will more likely be a 2 person operation. Raising a ladder isn’t too tough in training or at home. Doing it with a bottle on your back in the dark at 2 am is more difficult.

BJ

BJ

reduced staffing :(
Firefighting is one area that I really don’t want to have to worry about “cuts”.

Toxins Out, Nature In - body/mind/spirit

“Doing it with a bottle on your back in the dark at 2 am is more difficult.”

LOL…..I hear ya! A little background on me: I started with the Lubbock Fire Department in 1973. Then I moved to Dallas and started with DFD in 1975, retiring in 2007 as a Lieutenant. I saw a lot of changes over the years. When I started we rode the tailboard and had wooden aerials. I will agree, aluminum is certainly lighter, especially the older you get.

I am glad San Francisco is keeping a tradition alive. Tradition is a rich part of the fire service.

Artisan Woodworks of Texas- www.awwtx.com

Great story Debbie. Thanks for bringing it to us. I’ve spent a lot of time in San Francisco and Los Angeles having lived in both cities during my upbringing. Good to hear that they value wood. I still remember the L.A. riots in 1965 when rioters were shooting at firemen trying to put out fires in the riot area. A fireman had tried to recruit me to the fire dept. when I was going to college and I was sure glad later in 1965 that I hadn’t taken him up on his offer!

Mike, an American living in Norway

Bill,
It’s nice to hear you retired after a long career. I met a retired FF from my department last year. He said he was 27 years old when he was hired, worked 27 years, and has now been retired for 27 years. He is healthy and quick witted. Gives the rest of us something to aim for.

BJ

BJ