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Calling the Fire Department

When reporting an emergency, always dial 9-1-1. Tell the dispatcher where you are and what the emergency is. Be specific. Not knowing your address makes it harder for the fire department to get help to you promptly. Don’t say, “I’m in Brewster at the state park.” Instead, tell the dispatcher, “I’m in Nickerson State Park at area 5, site 22.” Be specific. Don’t say, “We need an ambulance! Hurry!” Instead, be descriptive and say, “My son is choking on food! He’s turning blue!” That will help the dispatcher know what type of resources to send. The dispatcher may be able to provide lifesaving instructions to you over the phone so listen to them carefully. Being calm and responding to each question could save a life, even your own.

In Brewster, calls from landline phones are routed to the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) Regional Communications Center located on the Massachusetts Military Reservation. The BCSO is the primary ‘Public Safety Answering Point’ (PSAP) for several communities in Barnstable County, including Brewster, Orleans, Harwich, and others. 9-1-1 calls are initially answered by a BCSO “call taker” who will quickly determine if the emergency call requires a police, fire, or medical response. If the emergency is fire or medical in nature the call taker will ask the caller for several important pieces of information including the street address, what the emergency is, and the call-back phone number. They will enter this information into their Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system so that another BCSO dispatcher can quickly send the units to your emergency. While this is happening, the call taker stays on the line to verify the address and phone number and obtain further information or provide other instructions. BCSO public safety dispatchers are certified in Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) to provide lifesaving medical instructions over the telephone such as CPR, bleeding or airway control, the Heimlich Maneuver, etc.

If the 9-1-1 call is a police emergency the BCSO dispatcher will transfer the call to the Brewster Police Department where it will be answered and handled by local police dispatchers and officers. When dialing 9-1-1 from a wireless telephone, all calls are initially answered by Massachusetts State Police who will then transfer the call to the appropriate agency. Wireless 9-1-1 calls do not automatically provide dispatchers with your address information so they will need to determine your location first before transferring the call to the proper agency.