Interview with Brewster Fire Department's Vice President and Recruiter Jeff Bergstrom

On Sunday April 29, Brewster HamletHub met with Jeff Bergstrom, a 25 year member of and Vice President of the Brewster Fire Department. Jeff has also been past president and past line officer and is currently in charge of recruitment.

Why is the Brewster Fire Department holding a special recruitment day today?

Each April, fire departments across the state open their doors for RecruitNY. RecruitNY is a statewide initiative sponsored by the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY). This is the sixth year and every fire department in New York is offering a open house to recruit new members.

The Brewster Fire Department is looking for new members. We are an all-volunteer fire department and the busiest department in Putnam County. We average 3000 calls a year between fire and ambulance. So we are very busy and any fresh new hands we can get will be greatly appreciated.

How many people volunteer for the Brewster Fire Department?

Brewster Fire Department currently has about 125 members, which includes ambulance and fire. Some of our older members handle traffic control – they are called Fire Police. We have some members that don’t want to go interior – meaning they don’t want to go into a burning building – it isn’t for everyone and that is understandable. We have people who handle exterior fires, drive trucks, pump the trucks, run the Jaws of Life so we can cut people out of cars and many other task that don't require them to put on a pack and go into a burning building.

Does the Brewster Fire Department need help in all areas?

Yes! We need help in all areas. We are in the most need for EMS (Emergency Medical Services. Our EMS team is the busiest by far. We also have a ladies auxiliary, which is a support group. They help with fundraising efforts and help the fire department in many ways. For example, they do coffee and food runs. Kobackers is great because we can give them a call and they’ll open the doors for us day or night.

Does the Brewster Fire Department provide training?

Yes and it is free. Once you become a member, all the training is provided for free. The first year is dedicated to training.

How can someone apply to be a member of the Brewster Fire Department?

If people are interested, they should stop by on any Monday Night to pick up an application. Everyone is dedicated to be at the Fire Department on Monday night. We check out the trucks, make sure the equipment is stacked, everything is restocked and where it is supposed to be. Throughout the week, we are all out on calls, so Monday is the best day for people can feel free to come down and pick up an application and ask for me, Jeff Bergstrom or they can get an application on our website at

Do you also have a Facebook page?

Yes, Frank Becerra, our Public Information Officer (PIO), created and maintains the page for the department. He takes a lot of the photos for the department and must make sure they comply with the regulations and laws that are in place. The Facebook page is

If you had one safety tip to give the community, what would it be?

There are many safety tips I could give you but one that people don't think about it to make sure they put their number on their house. We are volunteers, so it is important that we can identify houses quickly. By making sure your number is clearly visible, we can get to them as fast and efficiently as possible.

Click here for the Brewster Fire Department RecruitNY 2018 video of our brave volunteers in action.

The Brewster Fire Department headquarters are located at 501 N Main St, Brewster, NY.

Photo credit: Peter Carey, Brewster/New Fairfield HamletHub Editor

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