Our Unique San Francisco Fire Department

Gearing up for holiday cocktail party chatter? Along with party clothes and holiday gifts, it is advisable to prepare some San Francisco history trivia to share with newcomers or visitors during those awkward lulls in party conversations. There are many things that make San Francisco unique. So how about a story of one of the unique characteristics of our beloved San Francisco Fire Department?

San Francisco had a volunteer fire department from the Gold Rush of 1849 to 1866 when volunteers were replaced with a paid staff. The Ladder Shop of the SFFD built its first wooden ladder in 1917. Every one of the 350 wooden ladders the department needs comes though this shop. Here is a clip about why San Francisco’s Fire Department needs custom built, hand crafted, wooden ladders:

Talking about the San Francisco Fire Department during the holidays provides a perfect segue about how anyone, native to newcomer to visitor, can help our fire fighters during this special time of year. Here is what the Web site says:

“The San Francisco Firefighter’s Toy Program is the City’s largest and the nation’s oldest program of its kind. Since 1949, it has evolved from a few firefighters repairing broken toys and bikes for 15 families to, in 2013, 300 firefighters and friends volunteering their time to distribute over 200,000 toys to more than 40,000 disadvantaged children. Besides helping individual families in need, the Toy Program serves many community organizations, including shelters for abused women and children, inner-city schools, children’s cancer wards, and pediatric AIDS units. We also respond on a year round basis to displaced children who become victims of fires, floods and other such disasters.” Here is a clip to show you what they do:

If you can help the San Francisco Fire Fighter’s Toy Program, here is some info about how to make a donation: http://www.sffirefighterstoys.org/?zone=/unionactive/view_page.cfm&page=Donation20Suggestions

Best wishes,