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 .

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.

Brewster Fire/Rescue Responds to a Motor Vehicle Collision with Entrapment

On April 7 at 11:03 a.m. Brewster Engine 239 and Ambulance 242 under the direction of Captain Dan Kimball responded to a report of a motor vehicle accident with injuries as a result of a car that left the roadway and crashed into a wooded area adjacent to Villages Drive.

Upon arrival units found a motor vehicle into the woods with a single victim entrapped in the car by several trees and brush. Firefighters used chain saws to remove the obstructions and reach the victim who was transported to Cape Cod Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

A Reassuring Message From Brewster Fire/Rescue

To the Brewster community, your Fire and EMS personnel are looking a little different when they show up to emergency medical calls these days. Pictured, here is Firefighter/Paramedic Jared Hogg shown wearing some of the personal protective equipment commonly being worn by our staff members amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

Brewster Fire Rescue would like all or our residents to know that we continue to respond to the fire and emergency medical needs of our local and regional communities during the current pandemic event. We continue to work with town departments such as Police, Health, DPW, Emergency Management, Water and County and State assets on a daily basis to ensure we provide the highest level of care to our community while dealing with the COVID-19 virus.

In providing these services, particularly in dealing with medical emergencies, we are following all precautions outlined through the Centers for Disease Control and the Department of Public Health to ensure the safety of our patients, as well as our first responders. This abundance of care requires us to utilize all necessary infectious disease precautions including the elevated use of specific personal protective equipment when responding on emergency medical service requests. In addition to the standard gloves we wear, you may also see our members wearing masks, face shields and gowns. Therefore, in an effort to secure the safety and health of our staff and patients during all emergency medical responses, regardless of the reason, we will be placing a mask on all patients. Again, we are continuing this protocol through an abundance of caution for you, our firefighters, and Cape Cod Hospital staff.

Rest assured our staff and our mutual aid partners will be there for you during an emergency. Please continue to practice the social distancing guidelines prescribed, regulations concerning public gatherings, and follow the directions given by the Town of Brewster and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts concerning protecting yourself and your family from the COVID-19 virus. We close by reminding you to also continue to practice home fire safety by checking your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are in proper working order and practicing your home escape plan with each member of your family


Yours in service, the dedicated members of Brewster/Fire Rescue

BOCH Regional Community Emergency Response Team Assists Lower Cape Outreach with Grocery Deliveries

On Tuesday March 24 several members of the Brewster, Orleans, Chatham, and Harwich Regional Community Emergency Response Team assisted the Lower Cape Outreach Council in delivering over fifty bags of groceries to residents in the towns of Truro, Wellfleet, Eastham, Orleans, Harwich, and the Wells Court senior housing complex in Brewster.

In addition, during the current COVID-19 virus pandemic members of the CERT team have been assisting the involved communities in providing essential services to their residents though the delivery of food and medications and support operations at local emergency operations centers. Pictured here are team members who assisted Lower Cape Outreach with their deliveries. 

Construction crew hits gas line in Brewster

BREWSTER – A construction crew struck a gas line in Brewster sometime after 11:30 AM Friday. The incident happened on Southern Eagle Cartway. Firefighters cordoned off the area until National Grid could arrive to cap the leak. A residence was checked to make sure the fumes had not gotten inside.

Woman injured in equestrian accident in Brewster

BREWSTER – A woman was injured after reportedly falling from a horse in Brewster sometime after 10:30 AM Friday morning. The incident happened off Run Pond Road. The victim was taken to Cape Cod Hospital with possible fractured bones. Further details were not immediately available.

Statement from Barnstable County Administration urging travelers from New York City Metropolitan area (CT, NJ, NY) to self-isolate


Barnstable, MA – Thursday, March 26, 2020 – During this COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, Barnstable County Administration is asking persons traveling from COVID-19 “hot-spot” areas (including from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut) to Cape Cod to voluntarily self-quarantine for fourteen (14) days upon arrival.

This request does not apply to:

  • Persons who are traveling to provide and carry out COVID-19 essential services;
  • Persons who are traveling to care for elderly persons, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons; and
  • Persons who are traveling to and from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and other related services; and

This voluntary self-quarantine, out of an abundance of caution, recognizes that New York City is the current epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, with more than 15,000 confirmed cases in New York City alone. Self-isolation for 14 days will help curb the spread of the disease in Barnstable County and lessen the stress on our critical infrastructure, including First Responders, hospitals, and healthcare providers.

Non-residents are encouraged to consider returning to their full-time residences.  We strongly urge new arrivals to take special steps to distance themselves when buying groceries or undertaking other essential activities in our community; many local stores offer food and essential items delivered directly to your home.  Please practice social distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from others, avoid group gatherings, monitor your health, and contact your healthcare provider should you feel ill.

For more information about testing and how to protect yourself and others from this highly contagious disease, please visit:

Cape Cod and Islands Major Crisis Relief Fund

The Cape Cod and Islands Major Crisis Relief Fund is a resource that may be able to assist some individuals on Cape Cod and the Islands during the current COVID-19 pandemic. If you need assistance or would like to donate to the fund please go to the link below.