Brewster Fire/Rescue Receives $29,000 FEMA (AFG) Award for Vehicle Extrication Equipment

On Friday July 31st Brewster Fire/Rescue received notification from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that our 2019 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Application had been approved and would receive funding in the amount of $29,000. In providing the award FEMA stated “after considerable consideration, the recipients project described in the narrative and details section of the application which included financial need, project description, cost/benefit, and statement of effect information was consistent with the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program’s purpose and worthy of an award”.  

Since 2010 the department has received eight Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) awards and one Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant totaling more than 1.5 million dollars in funding for equipment, fire safety education programs, training, and staffing.    

With this award the department will replace an older set of vehicle extrication equipment or “Jaws of Life” with new a technologically advanced, state-of-the-art, battery operated set of spreaders and cutters that will reduce the time required to extricate victims from motor vehicle accidents, significantly enhance patient care and treatment, improve firefighter safety, and allow for a more effective and efficient delivery of fire, rescue, and emergency medical services to Brewster residents.  

Brewster Fire/Rescue would like to thank Congressman Keating, Senator Warren, and Senator Markey for their support of this vital Federal grant program and for the valuable assistance provided by their offices during this year’s application period. In addition, we would also like to thank David Parr our FEMA Region 1 Fire Program Specialist for the outstanding comprehensive and expert guidance delivered to our organization throughout the entire grant process.

Brewster Fire/Rescue Conducts Swearing In Ceremony

On Wednesday August 5 Brewster Fire/Rescue hosted a swearing in ceremony for nine new firefighters and two new Captains. These staff members have been hired and promoted over the past year to replace former employees who retired or left the organization for other public safety positions. We wish the following individuals great success and luck in their new careers! 

Captains 

Michael Gerlach      Chad Foakes 

Firefighters 

Dean Smith             Louis Carlo             Megan Przygocki               Winston Rodormer 

Alex McHugh          Matthew DePippo    Tyler Baker            Craig DeCosta           

Jack Tuohy-Bedford

Brewster Office of Emergency Management Offers Hurricane Season Preparation Tips

1. Hurricane Risk

Peak of hurricane season is August and September. NOAA predicts above normal hurricane season; but regardless of seasonal forecast, it only takes one storm to severely impact an area. Entire state is at risk; storm surge threat in coastal areas and high winds, heavy rainfall, and inland flooding possible across entire state, as we saw in Irene in 2011. While the last hurricane in Massachusetts was Bob in 1991, the Commonwealth has a history of destructive hurricanes and the threat of tropical cyclones and other natural hazards continue during COVID-19 pandemic2. How Residents Can Prepare

Know Your Evacuation Zone

Learn if you live or work in a hurricane evacuation zone: www.mass.gov/knowyourzone

Make an Emergency Plan

Develop a plan with the members of your household to prepare for what to do in a tropical cyclone including making an evacuation plan, planning for individuals with access and functional needs, and any extra considerations during COVID-19 pandemic including how you might evacuate and where you might evacuate to. If you are in a high risk population, the safest option may be to evacuate to a location without the general public such as a hotel, relatives’ home or other destination. https://www.mass.gov/info-details/make-a-family-emergency-plan

Build an Emergency Kit

Build an emergency kit containing items that will sustain you and your family in the event you are isolated for three to five days without power or unable to go to a store and customize for your family’s needs. During the COVID-19 pandemic, include face coverings, masks, hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies that you may need. https://www.mass.gov/info-details/build-an-emergency-kit.

Stay Informed

Every family should have multiple methods for receiving emergency alerts. Learn more about different types of alerting and information tools including the Emergency Alert System, Wireless Emergency Alerts, NOAA Weather Radio, Social Media & Traditional Media, 2-1-1 Hotline, Local Notification Systems: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/be-informed-and-receive-emergency-alerts.

Residents of Brewster may visit the Town website at https://www.brewster-ma.gov/  for information regarding impending weather events.

Town of Brewster Smart 911 Emergency Notification System

In an emergency, the quickest and most effective way to deliver information is often via telephone.  The Town of Brewster uses a Smart 911 system to send out calls to residents.  All publicly listed landlines are currently in the database.  If you would like to add your cell phone and/or email address you can create a customized account to receive the information you want. To sign up for this emergency notification service visit:https://www.smart911.com/smart911/ref/reg.action?pa=brewster or access it via the Brewster Police website and click on “Emergency Notification”.3. What Government is Doing to Prepare

MEMA and the Department of Public Health have developed guidance for the Commonwealth and municipalities for providing operating shelters and conducting evacuations during COVID-19, which will be used to adjust the Commonwealth’s mass care and evacuation plans to help keep individuals both safe and healthy during a disaster.

State and Local agencies are adjusting plans:

Re-evaluating capacities of state-initiated regional shelter sites; preparing for the need for additional evacuation transportation vehicles; adding screening, sanitization, disinfection, and general public health protocols to existing mass care plans; and planning for and preparing to provide sheltering in non-congregate settings such as hotels.

The Cape Cod Regional Emergency Planning Committee (REPC), Barnstable County Health Department, and MEMA have adjusted the regional sheltering plan to support the health and safety of individuals using shelter services during a disaster.Should sheltering become necessary these revised plans will be implemented by public safety officials.

Summer Safety Tips

The following graphic displays a few things people can do to keep themselves safe during the summer season. Taking frequent breaks, using insect repellent and sunscreen are a few summer safety tips named in the graphic. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Airman 1st Class Taylor D. Slater)

Brewster Fire/Rescue Appoints New Firefighters

In late March after a competitive interview process Brewster Fire/Rescue hired four new full-time firefighter/emergency medical technicians to replace former members who retired or left the department for other public safety positions. The new staff members are (from left to right) Jack Tuohy-Bedford, Tyler Baker, Alex McHugh, and Matthew DePippo. We are excited to welcome these new employees to our staff and we wish them the best of luck as they begin their careers at Brewster Fire/Rescue.

 

Memorial Day

Brewster Fire/Rescue Honors our fallen heroes and all past and present members of our Nation’s military.  Thank you for your sacrifice and service!

Brewster Fire/Rescue Salutes Our Emergency Medical Providers During National EMS Week

May is Electrical Safety Month; Electrical Fires are Second Leading Cause of Home Fire Deaths

STOW, MA – Fire officials announced that May is Electrical Safety Month. This year, Electrical Safety Month comes at a time when most of us are at staying home, studying, working, and connecting with family and friends remotely. “We are using more electronic devices at once than normal. Practicing electrical safety is more important now than ever,” said State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey.

Don’t Charge Your Cell Phone or Laptop in Bed
Many fires are caused by cell phones charging underneath pillows and laptops left running on top of the bed covers. These devices are always processing when running or charging. Blocking or covering them can prevent air from cooling the batteries and lead to a fire. Failures of the lithium ion batteries typically used in these devices are more likely to occur during recharging. Charge these devices on a hard surface. “This is an important electrical safety lesson adults should teach children and teens who are using electronics to do their schoolwork, play, and stay connected to friends,” said Fire Chiefs’ Association of Massachusetts President Dennis Condon.

Recently, a hoverboard that was charging malfunctioned and caused a serious fire in Andover.

Don’t Overload Circuits and Power Strips
One way to prevent electrical fires is to limit the number of devices plugged into any single outlet or circuit. Plugging too many things into a single outlet or circuit overloads them and starts fires.

Electrical Fires Caused 39 Deaths and Nearly $200 Million in Damages (2014-2018)
From 2014 – 2018, Massachusetts fire departments reported 2,794 home fires caused by electrical problems. These fires caused 39 civilian deaths, 92 civilian injuries, 355 fire service injuries and an estimated dollar loss of $198.3 million.

“Electrical fires are the second leading cause of home fire deaths in Massachusetts,” said State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey. “The best ways to prevent electrical fires are to have a licensed electrician do all work, and have your electrical system reviewed every ten years so you or your tenants won’t be tempted to overload outlets.” He added, “We need to keep our electrical systems up to date with our ever-increasing electrical needs in this technological age.”

Know the Warning Signs
“Call your local fire department immediately if you have warning signs such as arcs, sparks, or short circuits,” advises Chief Dennis Condon. “Other warning signs include hearing a sizzling or buzzing sound or smelling a vague odor of something burning. Immediate attention to these signs can save lives,” he added, “Firefighters can use thermal imaging technology to see excessive heat inside the walls.”

Call a professional electrician soon if you have any of  these warning signs:

  • Frequently blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers;
  • Dim or flickering lights, bulbs that wear out too fast;
  • Overheated plugs, cords or switches;
  • Shock or mild tingle – more than normal static electricity;
  • Loose outlets or unusually warm or faulty outlets or switches.

Give Electrical Systems a Tune-Up Every 10 Years
Extension cords are designed for temporary use, but many people leave them in place permanently and forget about them. Plugging many things into a single outlet or reliance on extension cords are signs it is time to have an electrician review your system. Fire officials recommend having a licensed electrician review a home’s electrical system every ten years. Small upgrades and simple safety checks such as making sure outdoor grounds and connections are secure can prevent larger problems without breaking the bank.

Avoid Using Extension Cords
Another frequent cause of fires is using extension cords. Avoid using them if possible, but remember they are for temporary use only and not designed to substitute for the wall outlet. Plug all heat-producing appliances like space heaters, irons, and toasters, directly into the wall outlet; otherwise, the safety mechanism of circuit breakers and fuses is by-passed. Do not link extension cords together; each connection is another possible failure point.

Keep Furniture from Pinching Cords
Heavy furniture can easily pinch an electrical cord and over time that can lead to a fire. Do not run cords underneath rugs; it is both a trip and a fire hazard. Unplug appliances by grasping the plug; do not pull by the cord.

For more information on electrical fire safety in English and Spanish go to https://www.mass.gov/service-details/electrical-fire-safety .

Open Burning Season Ends May 1

We have received a number of inquiries regarding the potential extension of the open burning season. Brewster Fire/Rescue follows all State Fire Marshal regulations concerning open burning dates and guidelines. At this time we have not received an indication that open burning season will be extended. Therefore, this Friday May 1 will remain the last day for burning during this calendar year.

DRIFTING PADDLE BOARD CAUSES ALARM: Dive team search inconclusive… [HN VIDEO]

BREWSTER – The initial call began around 7:30 a.m. when what appeared to be an empty kayak was spotted floating out in the middle of Seymour Pond. Upon closer inspection, firefighters learned it was actually a paddle board… and when they also found a paddle, that’s when members of the regional dive team responded from surrounding towns.

A command was set up on the shore of Seymour Pond, on Route 124 near the Brewster/Harwich town line.

As you will see in the following HN Video, divers set up and went into the water searching while others searched the shore line and surrounding area.

The entire operation was concluded in about an hour and a half…

… and the investigation into the drifting paddle board and paddle remains inconclusive for the time being.