Nov 12

Proposed Brewster Fire Headquarters Facts


A Letter From the Brewster Fire Department

Since 2002 the Town of Brewster has been researching and studying options to replace its Fire & Rescue facility originally constructed in 1974 as a dual purpose Police/Fire headquarters with a modern complex capable of supporting its current and future operational needs. Feasibility studies were completed and presented to the Town in 2002, 2008, 2014 and 2015. During these studies all options regarding the current 1974 facility were analyzed including the renovation/expansion of the existing station, demolition of the existing station and construction of a new facility, and in the most recent 2015 study constructing a new facility and salvaging the current station for future use.

Each of these analyses has confirmed the current facility lacks sufficient space, creates and supports inefficient response to emergencies, contains a hazardous work environment, does not meet national fire service safety standards, and does not support the current and future resources required to adequately provide life safety services to the community. The studies also established that if a renovation/addition project were to be undertaken it would create serious disruptions to daily fire department operations and be a more costly and less practical solution for the community to pursue.

The Brewster Fire Department is an all-hazards combination type (career/call ) fire department that provides a variety of emergency services critical to our community’s life safety  including our core missions of emergency medical, fire suppression, and fire prevention services. It encompasses the largest and most diverse employee group of any Town department.  In 2014 the department responded to 2,780 emergency medical and fire related incidents which translates to an annual increase of approximately 2,565 emergency responses since 1970. It is also critically important for residents to acknowledge and understand that today’s fire department and response needs of the community are not the same as they were thirty years ago and that operating under compromised and inefficient systems with an identical infrastructure is no longer feasible.

In addition, as planned medical facility, residential housing, and assisted living construction projects are completed annual fire department response numbers are destined to increase which will place additional burdens on a workforce that currently responds to requests for emergency services out of an aging and substandard facility.

In attempting to gain community support for the project during the most recent studies the Board of Selectmen, Fire Department, Design Team, and Building and Needs Committee listened to the opinions of key community stakeholders as to the reasons for past project failures and embraced a process that advocated complete project transparency and broad opportunities for community participation providing all residents of Brewster the opportunity to become engaged in the project.

These efforts were highlighted by the hosting of five public forums from January to April of 2015 during which Town residents, members of the Board of Selectmen, Fire Department, Building and Needs Committee, Finance Committee, and the Design team publicly dissected each proposed program space which lead to the development and implementation of a number of operational and design solutions resulting in a significant 18% reduction in overall square footage including decreases in office and living space, training areas, storage areas, bunk rooms, and department apparatus inventory. Indisputably the most significant outcome of this process was meeting the goal of re-purposing the current building for use by the Natural Resources Department and other Town departments thus extensively reducing future Town infrastructure costs. The studies have also pointed out what many already know; building public safety facilities is not inexpensive and with regional construction costs continuing to rise on a monthly basis further delay of the project will only lead to substantial increases in cost.

It is an easily recognized and undebatable fact that the life safety services offered by the fire department are the foundation from which our community has been built upon. When residents call 911 we respond immediately and provide professional and expert services with empathy and care. Whether assisting someone off the floor after a fall, transporting a patient to the hospital, investigating strange odors, or extinguishing a fire our staff shows commitment and concern for our customers.

The unofficial debates and informal power struggles that have alienated relationships, divided community groups, and prevented this project from moving forward for the past 13 years should now end.  Each of the four studies conducted by the Town point to the same conclusion; build new and provide the fire department with an appropriate facility from which it can serve our residents.  In this moment we must think about what is right for the Town in both the present and future when many of our own family members may want to call Brewster home. It is time for us to step-up and unite as a community in support of constructing a facility that safely supports the operations of the organization that provides us with our most critical and identifiable life-saving service.


Brewster Fire – BOS Update Document 

Nov 06

Community CPR Training

The Brewster Fire Department will be sponsoring a Community CPR Training program on Tuesday November 10 at 6:30 p.m. The goal of the program is to enhance the Town of Brewster’s standing as a Heart Safe Community, provide vital life saving training to our residents, and increase the number of community members trained to a cardiac arrest.  Here are some interesting facts:

385,000 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests occur on an annual basis.

88% of these occur at home where limited emergency medical treatment may not be readily available.

Typically, only 8% of these victims survive

Immediate bystander CPR can double or triple a victim’s survival rate.

Learn the Cardiac Chain of Survival

Early recognition of cardiac emergency and access to EMS

Early CPR

Early Defibrillation

Early advanced care

Attendees at this three (3) hour training session will become certified in basic CPR and use of the Automatic External Defibrillator (AED)

There will be a ten dollar ($10.00) charge for processing of the CPR certification cards.

The program will be held at Brewster Fire Headquarters 1657 Main Street.

Individuals interested in completing this life saving training should call Fire Headquarters at 508-896-7018 to confirm attendance which is limited to the first 20 requests.

Be Prepared to Save a Life, Learn CPR!  

Oct 29

Brewster Fire Department Supports “Change Your Clocks, Change Your Batteries”

You The Brewster Fire Department has a simple, yet powerful reminder for all residents of our Town and the surrounding communities. In the next several days we will be changing our clocks for daylight-savings time. Our department is requesting a very simple solution to improve the life safety of your family and assist us in reducing fire related fatalities, injuries, and property damage from occurring within your homes. We ask you to take this opportunity to change the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors as we move into the colder winter months which is typically a peak period for fire incidents. Statistically, almost 66% of home fire deaths in the United States occur in private homes with no working smoke detectors. In consideration of these known facts we urge you to keep your family safe by changing your smoke detector and carbon monoxide batteries when you change your clocks.

Oct 29

Brewster Fire Department Halloween Safety Tips


Oct 20

Cape towns weigh benefits of automatic CPR units

The Eastham Fire Department responded to a rare high number of cardiac arrests this summer – five in eight weeks. A new piece of equipment the department was testing that performs automated CPR chest compressions, however, proved its worthiness.

EASTHAM — The Eastham Fire Department responded to a rare high number of cardiac arrests this summer – five in eight weeks. A new piece of equipment the department was testing that performs automated CPR chest compressions, however, proved its worthiness, according to fire Capt. Bill Piltzecker.

“We had several saves,” Piltzecker said of the demo machine. Also, in what ended up being a drowning off Samoset Road, the use of the machine allowed rescuers to take the woman they found without a pulse and deliver her to the hospital maintaining a heartbeat on her own, he said. “She ultimately passed away but they kept her alive long enough that her family was able to make a decision as to the donation of organs,” he said.

Now, given the device’s effectiveness, the Fire Department has bought two, one for each primary ambulance, with donations from the firefighters union and the firemen’s association. Other Cape fire departments are buying the devices as well, although cost is still a consideration.

Fire departments reported recently spending between $14,000 and $16,000 for each automated CPR chest compression system.

“We’re trying to talk the town into putting it onto the capital improvement plan,” said Mashpee fire Capt. Joseph Peltier. Peltier said the Fire Department has to consider a number of priorities to fund, one being stretchers. “As of right now, nothing is on the plan. They are expensive.”

CPR is a lifesaving technique used in medical emergencies when a person’s heart has stopped. Cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the United States, and the survival of a person in cardiac arrest depends on getting CPR immediately, according to the American Heart Association. A primary part of CPR is continuous chest compressions to maintain a flow of blood to the brain, at a rate of 100 compressions per minute, as recommended by the AHA.

For rescue squads across the Cape, the 100-compressions-per-minute would be administered manually from the time the emergency responders find a patient with no heartbeat until the person’s heartbeat returns, or the person is delivered to the hospital. That 100-per-minute pace can be tiring even for the fittest EMTs, and generally requires multiple people on longer ambulance trips, local fire officials said. Also, with manual compressions there can be room for error on the proper, 2-inch depth of the compressions. Often, too, there isn’t enough room in certain tight rescue locations, such as beach stairs or a stairway from a third floor of a house, for the compressions to be administered consistently.

“Not anymore,” Piltzecker said. “This is a machine. It doesn’t slow down. It doesn’t think. It does each and every compression perfectly. It takes up less room and it frees up another paramedic to start other advanced life support. It’s almost like having another person with you. It’s very simple. It’s quiet. It works.”

On Cape Cod, all the town fire and rescue departments either have, are planning to purchase or are considering purchasing automated CPR chest compression equipment. The idea is not new, local fire officials said, but older versions of the equipment were powered by oxygen packs, similar to what firefighters use to breathe when entering a burning building. The newer technology uses rechargeable batteries and is lighter, at 17 pounds, more compact, carryable in a backpack and more affordable, local fire officials said.

“It’s practically impossible to do perfect CPR on someone, as far as compressions,” Bourne Shift Deputy Fire Chief Paul Weeks said. “The machine really does mechanically what we can’t do physically.” Use of an automated chest compression machine can significantly reduce the possibility of rib fractures that occur at times with manual compressions, Piltzecker said.

The LUCAS 2 chest compression system, made by Physio-Control, is a popular choice among Cape Cod fire departments. With the LUCAS 2, a person who needs CPR chest compressions is placed on his back, on a hard plastic shoulder board. Then the wishbone-shaped equipment is placed over the patient, secured on each side of the shoulder board, and a piston with a suction cup is lowered onto the person’s chest. A button on the device starts the piston moving up and down for the compressions.

In 2015, in addition to Eastham, departments in Dennis, Falmouth, Yarmouth, Sandwich and Provincetown bought one or more LUCAS 2 devices, usually one for each ambulance in active use. The Barnstable Fire Department purchased one LUCAS 2 last year for its primary ambulance. The Harwich Fire Department is waiting to do a field test of a LUCAS 2 before making a purchase, and the Orleans Fire Department received a $43,000 federal grant in August to buy three LUCAS 2 devices.

“We live so far away from the hospital you can only do CPR for so long,” Provincetown training officer and fire Lt. Othaine Rance said of the 50-minute, one-way ambulance run from Provincetown to Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis. The trip from Provincetown to the hospital is the longest on the Cape and among the longest in the state, Provincetown rescue paramedic Daniel Notaro said.

“This way the machine just continues,” Rance said. The Provincetown rescue squad was trained in early August on LUCAS 2 machines, and put three in service right after the training. The machines will be shared with the Lower Cape Ambulance Association, a nonprofit group under contract with Provincetown and Truro to provide emergency medical services and transportation to the hospital, said John Thomas, association executive director.

“We work so close with Provincetown,” Thomas said. “Their truck is usually on the scene with our truck.”

Bourne, Brewster and Hyannis fire departments have been using the LUCAS-brand devices in all their active ambulances for the last few years, fire officials said. The Centerville-Osterville-Marstons Mills Fire Department owns three of the older LUCAS devices, which use oxygen cylinders.

Two fire departments, Chatham and Cotuit, use a different type of equipment, manufactured by Zoll, which uses a chest wrap around the patient, rather than a push-down of a piston, to compress not only the heart but all the large blood vessels in the chest, like “a really expensive hug.”

“Fortunately, we don’t have that many cardiac arrests,” Chatham Deputy Fire Chief Pete Connick said. “Cost is always a drawback. But cost versus benefit, the benefit significantly outweighs the cost. They do phenomenal CPR.”

Generally, fire officials reported they would typically use an automated CPR chest compression device two to three times a month, or less, and usually for heart attacks. Another reason might be drownings or near-drownings. “Many more people have heart attacks than drown,” Connick said.

One surprising benefit of the automated chest compression systems is increased rescuer and patient safety in the ambulance, and decreased rescuer injuries, local fire officials said.

“The most vulnerable place to be is the back of the ambulance, standing up in the middle, leaning over, doing CPR,” Harwich EMS Officer Rob Sanders said. In the case of a front-end collision with the ambulance or even with the brakes slammed on, the rescuer doing manual CPR compressions is a “projectile,” Sanders said.

“Now they can put their seat belt on,” Yarmouth EMS Officer James Roberts said.

Courtesy of

By Mary Ann Bragg

October 18. 2015 2:00AM


— Follow Mary Ann Bragg on Twitter: @maryannbraggCCT.

Oct 08

Barnstable County Fire Chiefs Association Sponsors Fire Strategy and Tactics Training for Regions Firefighters


On Saturday October 3, 2015 the Barnstable County Fire Chiefs Association hosted a one-day fire suppression strategy and tactics seminar titled “The Modern Fire Environment” at the Captains Golf Course in Brewster. The instructor for this dynamic training program was Fire Department of New York (FDNY) Deputy Chief George Healy who is a nationally recognized speaker known for his presentations involving the modern fire environment as it relates to recent scientific fire suppression studies conducted by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

During the program which attracted approximately 100 firefighters from across Cape Cod and the region Deputy Chief Healy discussed how components of the modern fire environment such as heat release rates, wind driven fires, type of materials involved in fire, transitional fire attack, use of personal protective gear, attack line management, and ventilation flow paths can impact the strategy and tactics used by firefighters when combatting structure fires.


This is the third firefighter training event sponsored by the Barnstable County Fire Chiefs who have made it their mission to bring dynamic, innovative, and high-quality management, leadership, and fire suppression training to Barnstable County firefighters so that they are better prepared to respond to your call for emergency services.

Oct 05

Fire Prevention Week

Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries.


Smoke alarms save lives. If there is a fire in your home, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out. Having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire in half. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

Here’s what you need to know!
  • Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home.
  • Test your smoke alarms every month.
  • When a smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside.
  • Replace all smoke alarms in your home every 10 years
    More about staying safe with smoke alarms.

In this Dan Doofus video, NFPA is reminding you to make sure you have enough smoke alarms in your home, test them monthly and replace them every 10 years.

See all of NFPA’s smoke alarm videos.

Smoke alarms by the numbers
  • In 2007-2011, smoke alarms sounded in half of the home fires reported to U.S. fire departments.
  • Three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
  • No smoke alarms were present in more than one-third (37%) of the home fire deaths.

Source: NFPA’s “Smoke Alarms in U.S. Home Fires” report, (March 2014)

Sep 30

Potential Severe Weather Threats This Week


A slow moving frontal boundary, along with a wave of low pressure, will stall over New England late Tuesday into Wednesday. This system is forecast to bring heavy rains, damaging winds, and coastal flooding to the region.

Additionally, a tropical depression has formed in the North Atlantic between Bermuda and the Bahamas. While this storm is still several days away, forecast models show the possibility of impacts on New England as soon as this weekend. These impacts may include coastal flooding, flooding rains, or damaging winds.

Heavy Rain/Flooding

Due to moisture from the Gulf of Mexico being pulled into the system, there is the potential for a widespread 2-4 inches of rainfall across the state starting Tuesday night and lasting through Wednesday night, with more possible in isolated areas. While rivers and streams are running lower than usual due to the drier than normal weather over the past few weeks, this amount of rainfall may still cause flooding in urban and poor-drainage areas and along rivers and streams, particularly ones prone to flash flooding. The National Weather Service has not yet issued any Flood Watches, but continues to monitor data for a possible issuance.

Wind Damage

As the front moves through the region starting Wednesday, winds from the northeast may gust in excess of 40 mph. These winds are expected to persist through Friday. These winds acting on fully leafed trees could result in downed tree, tree limbs, and power lines. While there is still uncertainty as to the exact extent and impact of the wind damage threat, the area forecast to be most at risk is east coastal Massachusetts, including the Cape and Islands.

Coastal Flooding

Astronomical high tides will persist through this Saturday. There may be splashover and very minor coastal flooding associated with the Tuesday night high tide. Beginning Wednesday, winds will be persistent out of the northeast with the potential of gusting in excess of 40 mph perhaps as late as Friday. From Wednesday through Friday. there is a risk across multiple high tide cycles for minor coastal flooding with pockets of moderate flooding across east-facing shores.

The below graphic from the National Weather Service shows astronomical tide tables for Boston, Sandwich, and Nantucket:

Tropical Depression Eleven

Tropical Depression Eleven formed Sunday night in the North Atlantic between Bermuda and the Bahamas. TD Eleven has a greater than 60% chance of strengthening to a tropical storm over the next 48 hours (after which it will be known as Tropical Storm Joaquin). As of 5:00 PM today, TD Eleven was located about 400 miles southwest of Bermuda, had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph, and was moving west at 6 mph. Starting Wednesday, TD Eleven is forecast to turn to the north and increase in forward speed, passing east of the Delmarva Peninsula by Saturday afternoon.

The impacts of TD Eleven or its remnants on Massachusetts will depend on its exact track and strength, but if it passes close by or makes landfall in the New England region, flooding rains, damaging winds, and coastal flooding are possible.

The below graphic from the National Hurricane Center shows the forecast track of Tropical Depression Eleven as of 5:00 PM today:

[Image of 5-day forecast and coastal areas under a warning or a watch]



Briefing documents from the National Weather Service offices in Taunton and Albany are attached.

MEMA Operations

The State Emergency Operations Center is operating at Level 1 (Steady State/Monitoring). MEMA will continue to monitor the progress of Tropical Depression Eleven. MEMA also participated in a conference call with the National Weather Service this afternoon regarding the potential for severe weather this week. A follow-up conference call will take place tomorrow morning.

MEMA will continue to monitor the situation and will disseminate additional Situational Awareness Statements as necessary.

Stay Informed:
For additional information and updated forecasts, see (National Weather Service Taunton) and (National Weather Service Albany)

Utilize Massachusetts Alerts to receive emergency notifications and information from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service.  Massachusetts Alerts is a free app that is available for Android and iPhones. To learn more about Massachusetts Alerts, and for information on how to download the free app onto your smartphone, visit:

Utilize MEMA’s real-time power outage viewer to stay informed about current power outages in your community and region, and across the state, including information from utility companies about restoration times:


Online Resources:
For additional information and resources, visit:
Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency at
MEMA’s Facebook page:
MEMA Twitter: @MassEMA
Federal Emergency Management Agency at
National Weather Service/Taunton at
National Weather Service/Albany, NY at
National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center:
National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center:
Northeast River Forecast Center:
Mass211 at


Sep 28

Brewster Firefighters Respond to Harwich Structure Fire


At 9:27 a.m. on Friday September 25, the Brewster Fire Department responded on a line box assignment with Ladder 237 under the direction of Captain Jeff Sturtevant to the Town of Harwich for a reported structure fire at 37 Pleasant Lake Avenue.  Upon arrival of first due Harwich units heavy fire was found blowing out of the first-floor of a large 2 ½ story wood frame private dwelling rapidly spreading throughout other areas of the structure. Harwich Fire Chief Norman Clarke immediately called for a working fire assignment and shortly thereafter a second alarm, bringing personnel and apparatus to the scene from Brewster, Orleans, Dennis, Chatham, Eastham and Yarmouth, as well as numerous move-ups throughout the area to provide station coverage.


Due to the heavy fire throughout the structure, difficult access to the front and rear of the building due to heavy brush and other material in the yard and apparent hoarding conditions throughout the building, the Incident Commander made the decision to fight the fire from the exterior using large-diameter hand lines, deck guns and elevated master streams. The heavy fire caused many parts of the structure to collapse early in the incident which complicated the fire attack and prevented firefighters from entering the dwelling.


Brewster Ladder 237 was instructed to set up on side “A” or the front of the structure and prepare to use their elevated master stream device. A Harwich engine provided a water supply for the aerial and the unit was placed into service. A Brewster ambulance also responded to the incident and provided on scene medical coverage.


On the second alarm request a Brewster engine responded to Harwich Station 2 for coverage and a Dennis engine was dispatched to provide coverage in Brewster. Firefighters remained on scene for several hours wetting down the collapsed building components as large construction equipment demolished the unsafe structure allowing firefighters to extinguish numerous pockets of active fire.


There were no reported injuries. The cause and origin of the fire are under investigation by Harwich Police and Harwich Fire Department. All Brewster apparatus were placed back in service at 2:27 p.m.


Sep 28

Brewster Firefighters Respond to Harwich Structure


At 4:59 p.m. on Saturday September 26, the Brewster Fire Department responded on a line box assignment with Ladder 237 under the direction of Captain Kevin Varley to the Town of Harwich for a reported structure fire at 212 Lathrop Avenue.  Upon arrival of first due Harwich unit heavy smoke was found emanating from the second floor and roof of the 2 ½ story wood frame private dwelling. The Incident Commander Harwich Fire Chief Norman Clarke immediately called for a working fire assignment bringing additional units from Brewster and Dennis Fire Departments to the scene.  A quick size-up of the structure by Harwich Car 71 (Deputy Chief Kent Farrenkopf) found a second floor bedroom fully involved in fire.  An aggressive interior attack by firefighters using an 1 ¾ attack line coupled with coordinated ventilation from the exterior of the structure allowed firefighters to rapidly knock down the heavy fire in the bedroom. On arrival the Brewster Ladder was assigned as the rapid intervention crew (RIC) and also assisted with ventilation of the structure using positive pressure fans.


Fortunately for the owners the quick and aggressive work of the Harwich Fire Department prevented the fire from extending into the attic and limited fire damage to the room of origin.


There were no reported injuries. The cause and origin of the fire are under investigation by Harwich Police and Harwich Fire Department. All Brewster apparatus were placed back in service at 6:36 p.m.


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