On Saturday February 23 at 2250 hours the Brewster Fire Department was dispatched on a line box assignment to Orleans for a reported structure fire at the Hearth & Kettle Restaurant. On arrival the Orleans fire department found a heavy smoke condition throughout the two story lightweight wood frame building and requested additional units to assist in searching for and extinguishing the fire. Brewster Car 231, Ladder 237, and ambulance 243 responded directly to the scene. Ladder 237 placed their aerial ladder into service to check the roof mounted HVAC units. The company also assisted in searching the building for the source of the smoke and also provided ventilation fans for smoke removal purposes, Car 231 was assigned as the interior operations Chief, and ambulance 243 stood by as the medical unit at the incident. After a long and tedious search of the building using thermal imaging cameras companies determined the source of the smoke to be an overheated piece of machinery in the unoccupied attic space. All Brewster units returned to quarters and were placed back into service at 0027 hours.
On Friday February 22 at 2103 hours the Brewster Fire Department was dispatched to the Town of Dennis for a coverage assignment due to a working fire on Surfside Road in Dennis. Engine 239 was requested to respond and cover Station 2 and Ambulance 243 responded to Dennis Fire Headquarters to provide EMS coverage for the community. During the coverage activity units answered several calls for assistance. All Brewster apparatus returned to headquarters and were placed back in service at 0025 hours.
The Brewster Fire Department began pre-storm preparations on Thursday February 8 by conducting visits at facilities within the Town including nursing homes, food establishments, gas stations, and other locations identified as critical infrastructure within the community. The Office of Emergency Management held a meeting on Friday February 9 with various Town departments including Fire, Police, DPW, Water, Administration, Maintenance, and Natural Resources. At this meeting the group reviewed the town emergency management plan, discussed staffing issues, resource capabilities, and developed an action plan for storm operations.
Beginning on Friday at 6:00 p.m. the fire department brought in additional staff to supplement on duty firefighters. These staffing levels remained in place until Monday at 6:00 p.m. During this period the fire department responded to over 200 requests for service ranging from downed power lines and trees, medical emergencies, fire alarms, well-being checks, flooded basements, electric and gas emergencies, and requests for mutual aid fire and ems resources.
In addition, a rehabilitation center for Town employees was established at fire headquarters. At the center personnel were provided with a secure area to rest, shower, and obtain a hot meal during the entire 72 hour storm period.
The Towns Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was opened on Saturday morning to assist in transporting Brewster residents with no electric and/or heat to the local warming center which was established at the Eddy School and then to a regional shelter staffed by the Red Cross at Nauset Regional High School in Eastham. The EOC also assisted in coordinating other resource and service requests from Town departments and residents through Saturday night. A total of 55 Brewster residents were transported to the regional shelter during the height of the storm and then returned to their residences Sunday and Monday as power was restored throughout the community.
The members of the Brewster Fire Department who responded to and worked efficiently and professionally through dangerous conditions during the storm would like to acknowledge our residents for the perseverance, resilience, and spirit they displayed during this highly stressful, long term emergency event and remind you that we remain always at your service.
I am pleased to announce that The Brewster Fire Department was recently awarded with an improved structure fire suppression rating by the Insurance Service Offices (ISO). Reducing the community rating was one of the main goals identified in our five-year strategic plan published in early 2012 and available on this website for your review. We are excited to have reached this very important objective and I wish to personally thank the Board of Selectmen, community stakeholders including the Brewster Water Department, our regional fire service partners, and most importantly the dedicated members of our organization for their continued development and delivery of professional Fire and EMS services to our customers.[pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”] Please take a minute to read the letter below on how Brewster residents and business owners may personally benefit from this improved rating.[/pullquote]
TO: Town of Brewster Resident/Business Owner
RE: Brewster Fire Department Public Protection Classification Upgrade
The Town of Brewster Fire Department was recently evaluated by the Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO). ISO collects and evaluates information from communities in the United States on their structure fire suppression capabilities. The data is analyzed using ISO’s Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS) which reviews several key components of a fire departments operation including dispatch services, staffing, apparatus, training, and water supply capabilities. Most insurance companies utilize this information to develop and set commercial and residential fire insurance rates.
We are pleased to report that the Brewster Fire Department received an upgraded Public Protection Classification moving from a Class 4 to a Class 3 which makes the Brewster Fire Department one of a few combination fire departments in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to achieve this rating.
Feel free to provide a copy of this information to your insurance company who will then make a determination as to whether a reduction in your commercial or residential fire insurance rate is warranted based on this upgraded rating.
Yours in Service,
Chief of Department
On Monday February 4 at 4:43 p.m. the Brewster Fire Department responded to 46 Raymons Way for a reported chimney fire. On arrival at the 1.5 story private dwelling Engine 234 under the command of Captain Donald LaBonte found an active fire within the chimney and assumed command of the incident. Ladder 237 was placed to the top of the chimney and personnel initiated fire suppression operations with a pre-connected attack line. Additional personnel were assigned to check the interior areas of the structure for fire extension. Each floor including the basement and attic areas were evaluated using the thermal imaging camera (TIC). This equipment searches for hidden heat sources and allows firefighters the ability to find fire hidden behind walls and within other void spaces in the structure. Our professional firefighters were able to fully extinguish the fire within approximately 30 minutes with no extension into the building. Units were placed back into service approximately one hour after the initial call. The Brewster Fire Department would like to take this opportunity to remind residents who utilize fireplaces and wood burning stoves to have their chimneys and flues cleaned and/or inspected by a professional cleaning service on an annual basis. Remember, preventing these types of incidents from occurring and causing damage to your residence should be a priority for every homeowner.
On Monday January 28 at approximately 2:25 p.m. the Brewster Fire Department responded to the Town of Harwich on a line box assignment for a reported structure fire. On arrival of the Harwich Fire Department heavy fire was found coming from the front and rear of the residence and a working fire (WF) assignment was requested by the Incident Commander. Brewster Ladder 237 responded directly to the scene as the Rapid Intervention Team (RIT). An aggressive interior attack on the fire was initiated by the units at the scene resulting in the fire being placed under control about 20 minutes after arrival of the first fire department unit. Brewster Engine 234 also responded to cover Harwich Fire Headquarters. Please see the full story and photos attached.
Wednesday January 23turned out to be an extremely busy day for Brewster firefighters. Starting with a medical call shortly after 8:00 a.m. the department responded to a total of thirteen emergency incidents including a single car motor vehicle accident with injuries at the intersection of Route 124 and Tubman Road that resulted in the snapping of a utility pole, downed primary electric lines and closure of the roadway for several hours (see picture) and a mutual aid request from the Harwich Fire Department for our four-wheel drive all-terrain vehicle to assist with the search for a missing woman.
Photo credit Jake O’Callahagn
Additional requests for service responded to throughout the day included the investigation of a smoke odor, activated fire alarms, and several priority 2 and 3 medical calls. Due to the simultaneous nature of a number of these responses off-duty career and call firefighters were requested to supplement the four on-duty firefighters during a number of these calls.
Open brush burning season starts January 15th and ends May 1st. Indicated below are the Rules & Regulations residents must follow in order to burn. Any questions concerning these regulations can be directed to the main fire department phone line at 508-896-7018.
In accordance with the Rules & Regulations issued by the Southeastern Massachusetts Pollution Control District regarding open burning, in order to burn in the Town of Brewster the following procedure must be followed:
- Permits must be obtained annually at Brewster Fire Headquarters (1657 Main Street) or via mail using the application.
- Permits may be obtained in person Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
- Persons wishing to burn must receive permission from the fire department by calling our dedicated open burning hotline at 508-896-5174 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. each day of intended burning.
- A message indicating whether or nor burning will be allowed on that day will follow. If burning is allowed, the caller shall then leave their name, burn permit number, address, and phone number on the answering machine in order to allow the fire department the ability to cross reference all permits and requests to burn.
- Adverse meteorological conditions, including rain, fog, snow, and wind will influence the decision to allow open burning on any individual day.
- Burn permits are $10.00 and are valid for the entire burning season.
**Weather conditions can change rapidly and the fire department will determine on a daily basis whether or not it is safe to conduct open burning. If wind speed increases or other atmospheric conditions change suddenly resulting in unsafe burn conditions permission to burn can be rescinded.
The following rules apply to open burning:
- Burning must not cause a nuisance.
- Burning must be done with smoke minimizing starters.
- Burning must take place on the land closest to the source of the material to be burned and in accordance with Department of Environmental Protection regulations (310 CMR DEP 7.07).
- Burning must take place at the location specified on the issued permit (permits are valid for one location only).
- Burning material and location shall be no less than 75 feet from any structure.
- A responsible person must be in attendance at all times while the fire is burning.
- A hose and/or water supply as well as shovels and/or rakes for controlling the fire must be present.
- Burning shall not commence after 12:00 p.m.
- All burning material must be fully extinguished by 4:00 p.m.
- The Brewster Fire & Rescue Department reserves the right to inspect all burning sites at any time.
Burning of the following materials with a permit is allowed:
- Brush, cane, driftwood, and forestry debris from other than commercial and/or industrial land clearing operations.
- Materials normally associated with the pursuit of agriculture such as fruit tree pruning’s, dead raspberry stalks, blueberry patches for pruning purposes, and infected bee hives for disease control.
- Trees and brush resulting from agricultural land clearing
- Fungus infected elm wood, if no other acceptable means of disposal is available.
State open burning regulations prohibit the following:
- Burning of brush, trees, cane, and driftwood from commercial and/or industrial land clearing operations.
- Burning of grass, hay, leaves, stumps, tires, or furniture.
- Burning of trees.
- Burning during adverse meteorological conditions.
- Burning at landfills or refuse disposal facilities other than approved incinerators.
- Burning construction material and debris.
- Stacking, placing, or storing flammable or combustible material in a manner that the fire department may presume the material may be burned.
**Infractions of the above regulations by any violator(s) will result in revocation of the burn permit and cancellation of the open burning season for the individual violator. In certain cases fines may be levied by the fire department.
Who may burn:
- Those who have permission from the fire department.
- Those affiliated with an official fire fighting agency who is actively engaged in training activities or combating or backfiring an existing fire.
- Those who are utilizing an open burn as a primary method of cooking.
How to conduct open burning:
- An adult must always be present during any open burning operation. All children and pets should be kept at a safe distance.
- Keep a water supply such as a garden hose, pump can, or pressurized water can available.
- Keep tools such as a rake or shovel available.
- Use paper and kindling wood to start the fire and progressively add larger pieces of wood.
The Brewster Fire Department recently received two significant donations from members of the community that were utilized to purchase emergency medical, vehicle extrication, and training props for our members.
The first donation which came from a Town family that wishes to remain anonymous was utilized to complete a program initiated by the department which included the upgrading of our operational capabilities in the area of vehicle extrication and removal of patients involved in motor vehicle crashes. This 12,000 monetary donation was utilized to purchase modern, state-of-the-art equipment manufactured by the Holmatro Company that is specifically designed to allow a single fire company the ability to rapidly initiate vehicle extrication operations prior to the arrival of additional staff or other equipment. Numerous studies have shown the rapid extrication and treatment of patients involved in these types of traumatic events is the single most viable tactic in ensuring the patients life safety. This new equipment significantly improves the fire department ability to meet this goal.
A second donation in the amount of $50,000 was received from a long time Brewster resident Mrs. Susan Schechter in memory of her husband Michael who was an extremely generous supporter of our organization for many years. A portion of these funds were used to complete a purchase program initiated by the fire department that involved outfitting our ambulances and medical treatment room with power stretchers designed to reduce the potential for back and lifting injuries on emergency medical personnel. Additional funds from this generous donation were utilized to purchase a forcible entry training prop that has allowed Brewster firefighters and those in our surrounding communities the ability to practice forcible entry techniques and tool use in a controlled environment utilizing real life scenarios. The ability to practice these skills in a hands-on environment has significantly improved our operational effectiveness in this area. Our organization would like to thank these Brewster residents for their generosity and support of our organizations continued attempt to deliver exemplary fire and emergency medical services to the community.
On Saturday October 27th the Brewster, Eastham, and Wellfleet Fire Departments attended a full day of live fire training at the Barnstable County Fire Academy. Approximately 24 members of the three departments participated in a variety of fire scenarios encompassing tactical evolutions ranging from search & rescue, fire suppression, ventilation, aerial & ground ladder placement, forcible entry, and Incident Command. This type of regional based hands-on-training in “real” fire environments is a critical component of sharpening and maintaining the skill level and competency of the firefighters and promotes effective working relationships between mutual aid partners. Pictured here are some of your local firefighters in action.