How many Folks on here use there Ladders in rural type operations? And by rural type operations i mean theres Drop Tanks/ Porta tanks whatever you choose to call them there. Do you Draft with it or is it supplied by a engine or both like us. We draft to supply the hand lines and Portable master Streams and use the engine to supply the ladder if possible. Otherwise were just being supllied by the Engine? Just Throwing the question out there.
Justin, Have used aerial ladder as an elevated master stream in rural operations, but the truth is that any time you consider this, the first consideration is "how am I going to feed the monster?". Now aerials also have other purposes, such as roof access and rescue, depending on the circumstances. Some areas of the country have some pretty good sized dwelling in rural areas, it seems like we have gone full circle. Old, old farm houses were built like big boxes, 2 and even 3 stories high with people sleeping in upstairs bedrooms, but then a lot of parts of the country went to ranch style and split level houses which are easily accessed by ground ladders. Now some of the newer construction is back to multiple stories in rural areas and a ladder truck can be the only means to gain access to some areas of the roof and to the tops of chimneys on some of these.
The problem with trying to use ladder for elevated master stream is that, if you run out of water, the fire can grow very rapidly and can threaten your apparatus if placed closely enough to do its job. So it is eseential that a reliable, uniterruptable water source exist, and as much as I enjoy seeing a good tanker shuttle in operation, and have run many myself, this would be my primary concern. I have always been an advocate of identifying water sources in rural districts and developing water supply plans based on available static water sources (ponds, streams. etc) and supplementing that with tanker operations, however, very few departments I know actually identify these sources (aerial photographs is an excellent way to do this - find a flight school near your area and get a student pilot who is building hours to take you up for a ride with your camera). After identifying the water sources, then talk to the landowner and develop a plan for accessing these water sources, and then practice that plan - even if it is only on paper.
This will enable you to determine whether or not your ladder is a viable option for this location, and then you can plan accordingly. Pre-planning for these operations is everything. Too easy to scorch a $750,000 ladder truck and put it out of service.
Hopo this helps, or at least gives people some food for thought. Am interested in hearing what everyone else has to say, as I realize I am an opinionated old Far_, but am willing to learn, too.