Brewster Fire Department Improves Community ISO Rating

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,

Robert Moran

Chief of Department

Brewster Fire Responds to Chimney Fire

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.

Brewster Fire Responds to Harwich

photos by Kevin Morley/CWN

photos by Kevin Morley/CWN

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.

Busy Day for Brewster Fire Department

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.

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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.


Brewster Fire Department Receives Equipment Donations

 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.


Brewster, Eastham, and Wellfleet Fire Departments attend Live Burn Training

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.

Brewster Fire Department Receives Specialized EMS Training

In October members of the Brewster Fire Department and several neighboring fire departments received specialized EMS training on the rescue and removal of bariatric patients from Lieutenant Jeff Kaplan and Lieutenat David Haenelt of the Englewood (NJ) Fire Department.  The instruction included a classroom powerpoint program which focused on common bariatric patient medical issues, treatment protocols, packaging and removal techniques, specialized equipment needs, and patient dignity concerns that emergency medical providers will be faced with when dealing with bariatric patients.  In addition to the classroom component a hands-on session which included the use of rope hauling systems, rescue and removal techniques, anchor point usage, patient transport procedures and specialized equipment use was conducted.

Cape Cod Bible Alliance Church Fire

On Friday November 30 at 2:58 a.m. the Brewster Fire Department was dispatched to the Cape Cod Bible Alliance Church on Main Street for a reported automatic fire alarm. On arrival of the first due engine flames had already engulfed approximately 25% of the building and were rapidly spreading throughout the remaining areas of the structure. A request for additional Brewster Fire Department personnel and mutual aid resources from surrounding communities was immediately requested by the officer-in-charge.  Firefighters attempted to initiate an interior attack to extinguish the blaze but were pushed back by the rapidly moving fire.

Based on these heavy fire conditions which hampered the interior attack and the lightweight wood construction of the church which inherently promotes the rapid collapse of the structure units on scene switched to a defensive exterior fire attack utilizing several elevated and ground based master stream devices.  Due to the heavy fire conditions found on arrival and the type of occupancy involved, the Massachusetts State Fire Marshals Office, State Police, and ATF were requested to assist the Brewster Fire and Police Departments with the fire investigation which has resulted in the arrest of a suspect for the crime of arson.  Mutual aid apparatus assisting the Brewster Fire Department at the scene included a Harwich ladder, Dennis engine, Orleans ladder and engine, Eastham engine, Chatham engine, and ambulances from Eastham, Dennis, and Harwich. Numerous mutual aid Chiefs from those communities also responded to assist the Brewster Incident Commander in managing the fire suppression operation. Additional Barnstable County fire and EMS units provided coverage for the region during the event and the American Red Cross supplied first responders with rest and rehabilitation services and refreshments.     Photos by Jake O’Callaghan/CWN & Jerry Mossey

Open House

On Sunday December 2, 2012 the Brewster Fire Department hosted an open house for our residents and visitors to the community.  During the event fire department members provided the approximately 150 attendees with tours of our fire and EMS equipment and fire headquarters while providing free Fire Safety education literature, balloons, goodie bags, and refreshments.  Highlights of the day included a visit from Smokey the Bear and Santa Claus which was very well received by the children in attendance. The members of the Brewster Fire Department would like to thank those individuals who visited us during the open house and shared in the Holiday season spirit!  Make plans now to attend our next scheduled Open House which will take place during Brewster in Bloom weekend in 201