State Fire Marshal offers outdoor fire safety tips to start the Summer off safely

From Mass Department of Fire Services: “Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer,” said State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey. “Many people are anticipating activities with family and friends, and getting their yards and grills ready for gatherings. Take a few minutes for safety and have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.”

Grilling Safety
Between 2014 and 2018, Massachusetts fire departments responded to 474 fires involving grills, hibachis, and barbecues. These fires caused 19 civilian injuries, seven firefighter injuries, and $3.8 million in property damage. Last year, a terrible house fire started in Duxbury when the grill was used right against the side of the house.

State Fire Marshal Ostroskey offered these safety tips for grilling safety:
• Always grill outdoors.
• Place grills 10-feet away from the house and deck railings. Make sure grills are not under eaves or overhanging branches.
• You should not use a gas or charcoal grill on any porch or balcony.
• Gas grills can be used on first floor decks or patios, only if there is an outdoor stairway to the ground, or it is at ground level.
• Grills cannot be used indoors or on fire escapes.
• Keep all matches, lighters and lighter fluid away from children.
• Keep children and pets three feet away from grills. Create a circle of safety. Children should never play near grills.

On June 6, 2018, the Millbury Fire Department responded to a suppertime grill fire. The grill ignited nearby furniture on the porch. Damages were estimated at $20,000. The home had no fire sprinklers.

On July 11, 2018, shortly after midnight, the Ayer Fire Department responded to an outside grill fire. The homeowner had left the grill on at around 9 p.m. to clean it but forgot to shut it off later. The heat from the grill ignited the nearby wood railings on the deck and caused $26,000 in damage. The home had no fire sprinklers.

On August 19, 2018, the Scituate Fire Department responded to a grill fire on the back deck of a single family home. Working smoke alarms alerted the residents. Damages were estimated at $15,000. The home had no fire sprinklers.

Charcoal Grills
Propane is the most common grilling fuel, but many people use charcoal grills. Here are some charcoal grill safety tips:
• Only use charcoal starter fluid. Do not use gasoline or kerosene to start a fire in a grill.
• Never add lighter fluid to burning briquettes or hot coals. Doing so may cause a flash fire and result in serious burn injuries.
• Charcoal briquettes give off carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless gas that can be deadly. Always use charcoal grills in a well-ventilated area. Never use charcoal grills indoors.
• For proper disposal of grill ashes, allow the coals to burn out completely and then cool for 48 hours before disposal.
• If you must dispose of ashes before they are completely cooled, thoroughly soak them in water before putting them in a metal container.

Gasoline and Lawnmowers
State Fire Marshal Ostroskey said, “Is your teenager finally old enough to mow the lawn? Then be sure to discuss gasoline safety at the same time; talk about why it is important to let the engine cool before refueling.” Gasoline vapors are highly flammable and refueling a hot motor can ignited them. Gasoline spilled onto clothing can give off vapors until completely dry and be ignited by any heat source. Gasoline vapors can travel a long distance to find an ignition source, which is why gasoline cannot be stored inside the house. In the past five years (2014-2018), 335 lawn mower fires caused one civilian death, four civilian injuries, two fire service injuries and an estimated dollar loss of $1.6 million.

• Store gasoline outside only in approved containers.
• Keep gasoline away from all heat sources, such as smoking materials, pilot lights, campfires, and grills.
• Fill a cooled lawn mower. Never refill while it is hot.
• Keep hands and feet away from a mower while it is running.

On April 24, 2017, at 9:05 a.m., the East Bridgewater Fire Department was dispatched to a fatal fire in a single-family home. The victim, an 86-year old man was working on his lawn tractor when it caught fire and spread to his clothes and the deck. The building did not have any sprinklers and damages were estimated to be $242,400.

On May 18, 2017, gasoline vapors ignited when a man attempted to refuel a commercial riding lawn mower in Framingham. The mower was damaged and he suffered second-degree burns to his left arm.

Gasoline and Outdoor Fires
“Never use gasoline to start a campfire or add it to any indoor or outdoor fire,” said Ostroskey. “We have had so many injuries this year from people mishandling gasoline and other flammable liquids.” In the past five years, Massachusetts hospitals have reported[1] treating 132 people with serious burn injuries from gasoline. On March 26, 2019, there were two terrible incidents in different communities when gasoline was added to outdoor fires causing terrible injuries.

In Ware, four young adults were injured at a birthday party when one of them added a flammable liquid to an outside burn barrel. Two were life-flighted to a Boston hospital; one was taken to a Worcester hospital, and one was treated at a local hospital.

In West Springfield, a man was seriously injured after pouring gasoline into a fire pit.

Smoking Safety
Smoking was the leading cause of fire deaths in Massachusetts last year, and there have been many fires this spring from improperly discarded smoking materials on porches and in backyards. These fires can smolder undetected for a long time and when they erupt into flames, travel fast. If they start on the exterior of the building, these fires can get a strong hold before the interior smoke alarms start to warn anyone of the danger. If you smoke, put it out, all the way, every time. Extinguish smoking materials in a can with sand or water, not in the mulch, leaves, grass, in a potted plant or other container that can catch fire. Don’t snub them out on the porch railing or stairs.

Smoking materials caused a spring 2018 Chelsea fire that started on a back porch and consumed three triple-deckers leaving a dozen people homeless.

A late March 2019 fire displaced 20 from a Douglas apartment building started by a cigarette tossed into dry mulch.

An April 3, 2019 fire destroyed a Peabody manufactured home. It was started by smoking materials discarded into dried leaves.

An April 27, 2019 fire in Newton killed a 62-year old man and injured an elderly woman. The fire was started by smoking materials underneath the exterior deck.

Marshal Ostroskey reminds us that, “The possession and use of all fireworks by private citizens is illegal in Massachusetts.” This includes sparklers, party poppers, snappers, firecrackers and cherry bombs, and more. “Leave fireworks to the professionals, and enjoy supervised displays,” he said. “It is illegal to purchase fireworks in another state and transport them to Massachusetts,” he added. Last summer, there were many fires, amputations and burn injuries from illegal fireworks in Massachusetts.

A 22-year old man was seriously injured when roman candles were set off inside an Amherst apartment.

A 22-year old was injured in Gloucester playing with sparklers.

A 10-year old boy was injured by illegal fireworks at a Marshfield beach on July 3, 2018. He was an innocent by-stander.

A man lost part of his hand when a firework he was holding exploded. The explosion occurred in a Mansfield MBTA parking lot.

The Tewksbury Fire Department provided emergency medical care to a man who lost a part of every finger on his right hand when a firework he was holding exploded.

A 25-year old Brockton man suffered injuries to his left hand when a “cherry bomb” exploded.

A 22-year old Kingston man suffered injuries to his hands, face and stomach from a firework.

In the past decade (2009-2018), there have been 800 major fires and explosions involving illegal fireworks in Massachusetts[2]. These incidents resulted in 12 civilian injuries, 39 fire service injuries and an estimated dollar loss of $2.5 million.

On June 25, 2018, people shooting fireworks in the street started a fire in a 6-unit Lynn apartment building. One ricocheted to the second floor porch and ignited several items. The fire spread to the rest of the second floor and to the third floor. Thirty-four firefighters were injured at this fire.

Burn First Aid
• Stop, Drop, Cover and Roll to extinguish a clothing fire.
• Cool a burn. For minor burns, run cool water over the burn immediately.
• Seek emergency medical help immediately for more serious burns. Call 9-1-1.
• Use sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection from both UVB and UVA to avoid sunburn and skin damage that can lead to skin cancer.

Brewster Fire/Rescue Honors our Nations Veterans

Barnstable County Fire Chiefs Association and the Barnstable County Fire Academy Host Leadership Program


On Thursday May 23, 155 Firefighters and Fire Officers from Cape Cod and the surrounding region attended a one day leadership seminar titled “Fully Involved: Learn, Coach, Lead” presented by Palo Alto CA Fire Captain Mark Von Appen. The program which was held at the Ocean Edge resort focused on the “Big Four” principles of “Do Your Job”, “Treat People Right”, “Have an All in Attitude”, and “Give An All Out Effort”.  


During the day Captain Von Appen took the opportunity to explain how the attendees could use these four basic, yet powerful leadership principles to develop competent and committed teams of firefighters devoted to achieving group and organizational success and the effective delivery of outstanding fire and emergency medical services to their communities. The Captain has presented this dynamic and sought after leadership program throughout the United States on many occasions and securing him to present on Cape Cod was a vital component of the Chiefs Associations and Fire Academy’s cooperative efforts to bring vibrant and motivating leadership training programs to the regions firefighters. Thirteen Brewster Firefighters and Fire Officers attended the program.   

Brewster Fire/Rescue Celebrates National Emergency Medical Services Week

Brewster Firefighters Attend Live Burn Training


On Monday May 20 members of the Brewster Fire Department attended live fire training at the Barnstable County Fire Academy. This bi-annual training event is a critical component of our efforts to maintain operational efficiency and effectiveness during fire suppression operations.

During the rapid paced and dynamic training session Fire Academy instructors placed the firefighters in a variety of challenging live burn scenarios designed to simulate typical structure fire responses common to the Brewster Fire Department and our surrounding mutual aid communities.

Throughout the program firefighters carried out a number of fire suppression tasks that tested their operational skills and techniques in areas such as fire attack, ventilation, search & rescue, forcible entry, and incident command. This hands-on live fire training is a valuable asset to preparing and maintaining our members ability to operate safely, effectively, and efficiently at structure fire related incidents.

The Brewster Fire Department would like to thank the staff at the Barnstable County Fire Academy for their dedicated and expert guidance during this outstanding training event.

Officials stage mock fatal drunk driving crash at Nauset High School

EASTHAM – Wellfleet PD reports they joined their public safety partners in the annual mock fatal crash at the Nauset High School. Every year about prom / graduation time they stage a working informational mock fatal crash. It is the collective hope that this time of year is a festive and joyful time with so much to celebrate. However no one wants a bad decision to turn a happy time to a tragedy. Please be responsible in all your activities.

Participating in the mock accident was the police and fire from the Nauset School District, Nauset school teachers and administration, Barnstable District Attorney’s Office & Nickerson Funeral Home.

Photos by Wellfleet Police/CWN

Brewster DPW Conducting “Fill-a-Truck” Event to Benefit Lower Cape Outreach Council Food Pantry

Information Regarding Town Proposed 2 1/2 Override

The Town is asking voters to approve the addition of one (1) Program Coordinator position within the Council on Aging, one (1) Natural Resource Officer position within the Natural Resources Department, and two (2) Firefighter/Paramedics within the Fire Department as a Proposition 2 ½ override in the amount $309,000. Included here is information regarding this request.

Overide Information Document

Brewster Fire/Rescue Honors our Brothers and Sisters in Blue

Brewster Fire Department Hosts Open House


On Saturday May 4 the Brewster Fire Department hosted their annual Brewster in Bloom community Open House. This event is one of the principal instruments our organization utilizes to establish and support relationships with our residents and visitors to the community while showcasing our equipment and operational readiness. 

Some of the highlights of the day included interactive demonstrations on the use of brush fire attack lines, distribution of fire safety education literature, EMS and fire equipment displays, and tours of our new state-of-the-art fire/rescue headquarters. Hot dogs, popcorn, and other refreshments were provided free of charge by the Brewster Fire/Rescue Association throughout the day.

Our organization would like to thank all of our residents and visitors who took the time to visit fire headquarters to learn more about the professional services we offer, our equipment, and the staff members who provide outstanding high quality fire and emergency medical services to the community. 


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