Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the nearest fire hydrant to my house?
The most accurate information about fire hydrant locations and fire flow available at specific locations can be obtained from your water purveyor (who ever sends you your water bill).  When you contact your water purveyor, have your name and address ready.


How many smoke detectors do I need in my home?
You need to have smoke detectors in each sleeping room, in the hallway outside of sleeping rooms and on each floor level of your home.


When are hardwired smoke detectors required?
All new homes are required to have smoke detectors  - ionic and photoelectric.  Both types of detectors work well to detect fires where there are open flames.  Tests have shown that the photoelectric detectors are better in detecting smoldering fires, the type of fire most common in homes.


Where should I place my smoke detectors?
The most common place is on the ceiling of the room.  Take care not to place the detector outside of bathroom doors, in kitchens and other areas that produce vapors that might lead to accidental detector activation.


How do automatic fire sprinklers work?
Automatic fire sprinklers are connected to a series of pipes that run through the buildings framework.  The pipes are connected by control valves to a city or other reliable water supply.  When a fire occurs, water automatically discharges through the sprinkler head to extinguish or control the fire until the fire department arrives.


How are automatic fire sprinklers activated?
Fire sprinklers are activated from the heat of the fire.


Do all the sprinklers go off if one sprinkler goes off?
No.  Only those sprinklers directly over the fire are activated.  Most fires are contained or extinguished with only one or two heads going off.


Can automatic fire sprinklers be installed in a home?
Yes.  Sprinklers in homes are very effective life safety devices that significantly enhance your chances for survival if there is a fire in your home.


Can the Fire Marshals Office provide information about when it's okay to burn and if a permit is needed?
The Benton Clean Air Authority regulates when it is okay to burn. Their Burn Line Phone Number is 946-4489.  When calling the burn line you will need to know if your property is outside or inside of the Urban Growth Area (UGA).  To find out if your property is in or outside of the UGA please call the Planning Department at 786-5612.


Can I burn yard debris where I live? Do I need a burning permit to burn yard debris? Where can I obtain a burning permit?
Information on burning and burning permits can be obtained from the Benton Clean Air Authority, see the above information in order to contact their office or website.


What types of materials can I burn?
Only natural vegetation that is grown on the property - and small amounts of paper necessary to start the fire.


Can I have a small backyard recreational or cooking fire?
Recreational and cooking fires are allowed even in areas where general outdoor burning is prohibited.  The same safety rules apply for cooking and recreational fires as for general outdoor burning.  The safety rules are listed on the face of the burning permit.


Are fireworks legal in Benton County?
Most fireworks are regulated in Benton County for information on what types of fireworks are allowed in Benton County please refer to Benton County Code Chapter 7.30.120.  Fireworks are not allowed in Kennewick or Prosser.


When can I legally purchase and discharge fireworks?
Fireworks can be purchased or discharged anytime between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. beginning at noon on June 28th until noon on July 6th.  The hours of discharge are extended until 1 a.m. on July 4th.  Firework sale and discharge is prohibited at all other times of the year except by a special permit from the Fire Marshal.


What are the penalties for illegal firework possession, purchase or discharge?
Fireworks violations are criminal misdemeanor violations.


Isn't the Fire Marshal's Office part of my local fire department?
No.  The County Fire Marshal is a division of the County's Planning and Building Department and is not directly connected to any fire department or fire district.


What does the Fire Marshal do?
The Fire Marshal's Office enforces various state and local fire codes, fireworks laws and fire prevention statutes.  The Fire Marshal reviews and approves plans submitted for new building construction and conducts on site inspections and approvals throughout the building process.  He inspects the County's existing businesses based upon the potential for loss of life and then loss of property in the event of a fire.


How can I report a fire hazard?
To report a fire hazard, please contact Clark Posey, Fire Marshal at (509) 735-3500. 


Does the Fire Marshal inspect wood stoves and fireplaces?
No.  The building department inspects wood stoves and fireplaces.


Can I get someone to come to my group to speak about fire safety?
Yes.  Please contact our Fire Marshal who works out of the Building Dept.  You can reach him during business hours (8-12 a.m. and 1-5 p.m.) Monday thru Friday, except holidays at (509) 735-3500.


    Benton County    620 Market Street    Prosser, Washington 99350
    Phone: (509) 786-5710 or (509) 783-1310
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