Towns hope to buy trailer to simulate fires

By Doug Fraser
November 21, 2013 2:00 AM

BREWSTER — Inside the trailer, spectators sit on bleachers watching participants as they navigate a kitchen that belches smoke while fire alarms sound or seek safety while lightning flashes and window blinds quake as a 60-decibel surround-sound system with a subwoofer and HD television bring storms and fires to life.

But this $79,000 trailer is not a thrill ride at a carnival. It’s an educational tool that local fire departments hope will help everyone from senior citizens to elementary school students learn how best to survive a potentially life-threatening calamity. It is also one of the Cape projects proposed for a state Community Innovation Challenge Grant.

Grant applications are due by Friday and towns across the Cape are readying proposals that provide regional solutions to a problem while saving money. The grants, to be awarded in February, are available to towns, regional school districts, planning agencies and counties. There is a $500,000 limit on individual awards.

This is the third year of the grant program, which awarded $4 million to 27 projects in 2012 and $2.25 million for the same number of projects this year. A regional request for $162,000 for signs, educational materials and electronic gear to help towns detect great white sharks near beaches received $50,000 from the program and was the only Cape project to get any funding this year.

Brewster Fire Chief Robert Moran had seen the educational trailer in action at a previous job and thought it helped bring a healthy dose of reality into what otherwise was a dry presentation.

“I can stand up in front of a class and show powerpoints, but this can really impact them,” Moran said.

There’s a lot more to a real fire than flames and the trailer can duplicate the chaos firefighters know only too well, he said, with deafening fire alarms going off, smoke curling along the ceiling, obscuring vision, forcing you to crawl along the floor looking for a second way out because the door you thought was your escape route proved hot to the touch, meaning there’s fire on the other side.

“We hope to reduce fatalities and injuries and property losses,” said Moran, who noted there were 5,000 schoolchildren in the districts covered by the six Lower Cape towns applying for the grant. The 39-foot-long trailer has a mock-up kitchen and bedroom and can be towed to schools, councils on aging and special events. The Eastham, Chatham, Harwich and Brewster selectmen already have approved signing on to the application, with Orleans and Wellfleet still to decide.

Towns are still readying their applications but at least one other proposal is ready. The Monomoy Regional School District wants more than $113,000 to set up a middle school after-school program at the Chatham Community Center. The proposal includes $16,000 in salaries, $54,000 for transportation, $30,000 for security enhancements and funding for furniture, computers and other supplies.

The Chatham Park & Recreation Department proposed the grant application as a way to get the program off the ground. Recreation director Daniel Tobin said there would be fees for participants that would make the program self-sustaining after the first year. The Chatham and Harwich selectmen unanimously endorsed signing the application.



See how the trailer works at

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Brewster Citizens Fire Academy Graduation

Brewster- On Thursday November 21 the Brewster Fire Department hosted a graduation ceremony for 11 participants of our first annual Citizens Fire Academy. This highly successful, in-depth eight week program consisted of classroom and hands-on instruction covering a wide variety of fire and emergency medical service topics including a department overview, engine/truck company operations, EMS operations, fire prevention, vehicle extrication, technical/dive rescue operations, CPR/first aid certification, K9 accelerant demonstration, and field trips to the Barnstable County Sherriff’s Office Communications Center and the Barnstable County Fire Academy for a program on fire extinguisher use and a tour of the facility. The program instructors included numerous members of the Brewster Fire Department, Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office, County Fire Academy, and Sergeant Mike Peters of the Massachusetts State Police. Our organization would like to thank these speakers for taking the time to assist us with this dynamic community based training program. We would also like to extend our sincere appreciation to the participants who devoted their time to learn more about the Brewster Fire Department and the services we offer. We thoroughly enjoyed building community partnerships with the program attendees and look forward to hosting our second annual Citizens Fire Academy in the fall of 2014. Interested individuals should visit our website at for further information.


Planning for new firehouse gets thumbs-up

November 19, 2013 2:00 AM

BREWSTER — Voters easily approved $230,000 for design and planning for a new fire station at special town meeting Monday night.

The vote — 213 in favor and 30 against — allows officials to go forward and hire a project manager, and do soil testing and other planning measures for the new building, which is to be located on the current station grounds at 1657 Main St.

The proposed cost of the new fire station is estimated at $13 million. But the exact cost would be brought back to the voters at a future town meeting.

The original building, constructed in 1974, was for both the Police and Fire departments. Back then, the Fire Department received about 200 emergency calls a year, said Brewster Fire Chief Robert Moran.

The department receives about 2,700 calls annually, Moran said.

Voters rejected a fire station proposal in 2001; in 2008, the selectmen removed a similar question from the town meeting warrant because of the economic downturn, said Selectman Peter Norton.

“This is a proposal that’s not only due, it’s overdue,” Norton said.

The only questions from voters pertained to the soil beneath the proposed spot, which is near wetlands.

But Selectman Ben deRuyter said the first money spent will be about $50,000 for soil and other site analysis.

If there is a problem, “we need to put the brakes on,” deRuyter said.

The voters approved spending about $1.3 million in community preservation funds, including $600,000 to buy land for an undefined number of deed-restricted affordable homes to be built by the nonprofit organization Habitat for Humanity.

Another $600,000 will go to the Brewster Housing Authority for the construction of 50 units of low-income rental housing. Additionally, $25,000 in Community Preservation Act money will pay for open space purchase planning, and $39,400 will cover the cost of improvements to the Eddy Elementary School playground.

Several articles were indefinitely postponed, including an article to petition the state to allow the town to charge room excise taxes on the rental of homes, cottages or apartments for less than 90 days.

A bylaw to limit the use of fertilizer also was postponed indefinitely.

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Chief Moran Presents “9/11 USAR Response to the World Trade Center” to Our Lady of the Cape Men’s Club

On Thursday November 21, 2013 Chief Moran presented an hour long PowerPoint presentation on the response of Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams to the collapse of the World Trade Center towers that occurred on September 11, 2001.  Approximately 50 members of the club were in attendance at the discussion which included a detailed synopsis of the various operational components contained within USAR teams, their training requirements, equipment resources, staffing, and operational capabilities. Chief Moran also shared some of his personal experiences as a first responder to the incident as a member of New Jersey Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 1 with the attendees.

Brewster Fire Department Thanks Our Residents for Supporting the Proposed Fire Station Construction Project

The members of the Brewster Fire Department wish to thank our residents for the support received at the November 18, 2013 Special Town Meeting regarding the funding required to move forward with the construction of a new, state-of-the-art fire station. We understand this is the first step in a process in anticipation of providing our department with a safe and effective work environment from which we will continue to deliver outstanding and professional EMS and fire services to the community.

We look forward to cooperatively working with our Board of Selectmen, Building Needs & Assessment Committee, Finance Committee, Pomroy Associates, and most importantly our residents as we advance this much needed project to completion.

Brewster Fire Department Responds to Harwich as Rapid Intervention Company

On Sunday November 17 at 10:41 a.m. Ladder 237 was dispatched on a line box assignment as the rapid intervention company (RIC) to a structure fire located at 111 Pleasant Lake Drive in Harwich. On arrival Harwich Fire Department found a heavy smoke condition coming from the second floor of a two story 40’ x 30’ duplex townhouse. Firefighters immediately stretched an attack line to extinguish a second floor bedroom fire which was located during the primary search of the occupancy.

On their arrival Brewster Ladder 237 was ordered to assist with exterior ventilation of the rear windows of the apartment involved in the fire. In addition to completing the ventilation of the fire area, the truck company was also designated as the rapid intervention crew by the Incident Commander.

Brewster Car 231 (Chief Moran) was assigned as the Safety Officer, and Brewster Car 232 (Deputy Harrison) was assigned as the commanding officer in the rear or side “C” of the structure. The Chatham Fire Department was also dispatched on the line box assignment and provided an engine and an ambulance at the scene. Two occupants of the residence were transported to Cape Cod Hospital with smoke inhalation injuries. The Red Cross was requested to the scene to assist the displaced occupants of the attached apartments with temporary shelter. Due to fire and smoke damage the apartments were deemed uninhabitable for occupancy. All Brewster units returned to headquarters at approximately 12:30 a.m.

Brewster Fire Department Responds to Dennis

On Monday November 18, 2013 at approximately 6:00 am the Brewster Fire Department was dispatched to the Town of Dennis for a coverage assignment due to a working structure fire at the intersection of Route 134 and Upper County Road in Dennis. Engine 234 was responded to cover Station 2 while the Dennis units operated at the fire scene. The engine company returned to Brewster at approximately 7:30 am.

Efficiencies in Public Safety by Architectural Design: The Case for a New Firehouse for the Town of Brewster, MA


Brewster Fire Department Attends Live Burn Training


On Saturday November 9, members of the Brewster Fire Department attended live burn training at the Barnstable County Fire Academy.  During this rapid paced and dynamic training session Fire Academy instructors placed the firefighters in challenging live burn scenarios designed to simulate a variety of structure fire responses common to the Brewster Fire Department.

Throughout the day department members carried out a number of fireground scenarios that tested their operational skills and techniques in areas such as fire attack, ventilation, search & rescue, forcible entry, incident command, and use of the thermal imaging camera.  This hands-on live fire training is a valuable asset to developing and maintaining our firefighter’s ability to operate safely and effectively 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.

Brewster Fire Department to Host Information Session on Fire Station Project

On Saturday November 16 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm the Brewster Fire Department will host an information session concerning the proposed Fire Station construction project.  During this event, which will be held at the Fire Station located at 1657 Main Street, members of the Building Needs & Assessment Committee, Brewster Fire Department, Finance Committee, and the Board of Selectmen will be available to answer questions from our residents concerning the proposed project and provide personal tours of the current facility.  From the beginning of this most recent attempt to move the construction of a new fire station forward the Building Needs & Assessment Committee and the Fire Department has developed and implemented a stakeholder based, transparent approach designed to keep our residents informed and involved in this proposal.  In keeping with this tradition we are hopeful residents of the community who have questions or require further information will stop by during this event. We look forward to seeing our residents this Saturday.