FAQ

Helpful Questions

Q. What is the best kind of fire extinguisher for my home?

A. A multi-purpose fire extinguisher is best for the home. Look for the rating to be at least 2A 10B C on the label. This extinguisher can be used on any type of fire commonly found in the home. (It will often be labeled A-B-C.) It is recommended that an extinguisher be installed in the kitchen and in the garage.

What are the requirements for a cooking fire on beaches in Brewster? 

A:  Cooking fires are not allowed on any Town or State owned beach property including Crosby Landing.  However, if you are the owner of a private beach property, vacationing or renting a property in Brewster that includes private beach access you are permitted to conduct cooking fires with approval from the property owner or association.

Prior to conducting the cook fire you must obtain a permit from the fire department.  Proof of property ownership, written permission from property owner, and/or a rental agreement allowing same will be required upon application.  Permits are available Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. There is no fee.

Q. What rating fire extinguisher is needed in a business?

A. Extinguishers are required based on the type of hazard at your business. The minimum rating for an office with normal combustibles is: 2A 10BC.
Q. How many smoke detectors do I need in my home to provide adequate protection for my family and where do I install them?

A. You should have at least one smoke detector in each bedroom, the hallway, in the sleeping area, and at the top of all stairways. Smoke rises, so the best place to install a detector is on the ceiling or high on an inside wall approximately 6-8 inches below the ceiling. However, do not install a smoke detector within three feet of any device that might blow the smoke away. Call the fire department at 508-896-7018 for specific information on requirements for smoke detector placement.
Q. How do I know if my smoke detector is working properly? How long do batteries last in a smoke detector?

A. The fire department recommends that you test your smoke detector monthly. This is done in two ways: 1) push the test button or, 2) blow out a candle and hold the smoke up to the detector. Either method should work. Batteries normally last up to one year, and usually the smoke detector provides an audible indication (a chirp) when the batteries become weak. As a reminder, the fire department suggests you “Change your clock, Change your battery” each fall of the year.
Q. How do I get a tour of the fire station?

A. Tours for groups or individuals may be set up by calling the fire department on the business line at (508) 896-7018, during regular business hours (8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday). Individuals may stop by the fire station and request a tour. Any available firefighter will be happy to take you around.
Q. How can I get my blood pressure checked?

A. Free blood pressure checks are offered at the fire department. Call ahead, or just stop by the fire station at 1657 Main Street, Brewster.
Q. Can I burn something outdoors?

A. Outdoor burning in the Town of Brewster is permitted under certain conditions. Click here for details. 

Questions about our non-emergency operations

Q. How many firefighters are on duty?

A. Shift strength varies between two and five firefighters at the station.
Q. How many fire units are there on duty each day?

A. There are no specific fire units “on duty” per se. Firefighters will respond with the necessary vehicles to handle each particular emergency. Click here for information about our vehicles.
Q. Are all firefighters required to be a paramedic?

A. No, but many of our full-time firefighters are paramedics and the remainder are required to be at least a basic EMT. Many of our on-call firefighters are also EMTs or paramedics as well.
Q. Do Paramedics also fight fire?

A. Yes, paramedics perform dual functions of emergency medical and fire suppression operations.
Q. How much water is carried on the fire engine?

A. All of Brewster’s pumper trucks have between 500 and 1000-gallon water tanks. Other department vehicles also have water tanks ranging from about 150 gallons to over 1000.
Q. What kind of non-emergency responses do you offer?

A. Lots; We often find it necessary to use our ground ladders as well as our aerial ladder truck in a number of non-emergency operations and we often send equipment and personnel to assist citizens with water removal from flooding. We get calls to assist the elderly who need help when they have fallen.
Q. What are the firefighters schedules like? Do the firefighters spend the night at the fire station?

A. Yes, some firefighters spend the night at the fire station. Some firefighters work a rotating 24 hour shift, which means they are on-duty for 24 hours, off for 48 hours, on-duty for 24 hours, and off for 96 hours. This type of shift schedule requires them to stay at the fire station. Firefighters are ready to respond 24 hours per day and are often awoken each night to respond on calls. Some firefighters work five 8 hour day shifts with two days off and others work four 10 hour day shifts with four days off. There are times when firefighters may spend many days and nights in a row working at the fire station, such as during major snow storms.
Q. How does the daily operation of the Fire Department function?

A. The functions are divided into two primary areas, emergency and non-emergency. Emergency operations consist of fire alarms, medical calls, hazardous materials incidents, natural disasters, and automatic and mutual aid responses. Non-emergencies consist of fire prevention, training, maintenance, and public education activities.
Q. What do you do when you are not fighting fires?

A. Fighting fires are only a small portion of a firefighter’s duties. Medical emergencies, and other types of calls keep firefighters busy. Firefighters are responsible for the care and upkeep of all apparatus and equipment used in fighting fires and caring for patients. All equipment must be in top condition and ready for any type of incident. Maintenance of apparatus and equipment is vitally important to the fire service. This not only assures us of proper operating conditions, but it constantly familiarizes members with the technical aspects of our equipment. Firefighters also are responsible for the care of the fire station, a host of daily chores, and participate in ongoing training. All this is between emergency calls.
Q. Who cooks the meals at the station?

A. When firefighters prepare group meals, usually the best cook does the cooking.
Q. Who cleans the station?

A. Firefighters do.
Q. Why do we sometimes see the fire trucks at the market?

A. Since firefighters are on-duty 24 hour a day, and many work 24 hour shifts, they need to go to the market to get groceries for the meals they prepare at the station.
Q. What does the Fire Department have to offer to local businesses?

A. The Fire Department provides local businesses both fire and medical emergency response; assistance with Pre-Fire Planning, and evacuation planning; office safety and fire extinguisher training for employees; CPR and First Aid training; emergency preparedness planning; and annual fire inspections.
Q. What do you look for on a fire inspection?

A. For life safety on new construction we look to see if what was shown on the plans is actually what has been installed. On an annual inspection we look for potential safety hazards that can be abated before they become a serious problem. Mutual cooperation is our main objective to get code compliance. The Department will point out a problem and try to show that it is in everyone’s best interest to make the area as safe as possible.
Q. What does the Department do to let people know how to stop fires from occurring?

A. The Brewster Fire Department uses a variety of ways to educate the public about fires. They include informational visits to the local schools, and fire safety publications that we make available to the public. We teach things like “stop, drop and roll” and “learn not to burn.” We also promote smoke detector usage in the home.

Questions about our emergency operations

Q. Does Brewster lose any fire protection when our units are out of town?

A. No! On an incident where we send out our trucks to assist another community for an extended period of time, we recall firefighters to staff the fire station and remaining apparatus. These members are usually in quarters within five to ten minutes. In some situations other communities will send trucks to our station to cover Brewster.
Q. Why do so many firefighters or EMTs respond on a rescue call?

A. The additional staffing is often needed for moving a patient; providing CPR compressions and/or ventilation with a full arrest situation; controlling the scene; assisting with multiple victims; getting medical history information, allergies information, or to stabilize a scene, a vehicle, or provide safety to patients and firefighters. By having the additional personnel, the paramedics are freed to concentrate their efforts on the victim or victims, starting IVs, administering drugs, defibrillating, establishing airways, talking to the hospital for treatment orders, etc..
Q. Do I have to go to Cape Cod Hospital or can I be transported to the hospital of my choice?

A. Cape Cod Hospital (CCH) is the nearest facility, and we are required to take you there due to medical protocol. However, depending upon the nature and seriousness of your injury or illness, or if CCH is on diversion, we may transport you to another more distant hospital.
Q. Does the fire department charge a fee to respond to an emergency?

A. No fee is charged for the fire department to respond to an emergency. The only fees charged are for ambulance transportation to a hospital.
Q. If I suspect a poison was swallowed, what phone number should I call?

A. Call 911 first!!! You may also call the Poison Control Center after dialing 911, at 1-800-222-1222.