Fire Department FAQs

Can you get my cat out of a tree? The Benton Fire Department does not assist in rescuing animals. How many cat skeletons have you seen in trees? Seriously though, we suggest placing food and water at the base of the tree, and the cat will come down on its own.

Why do we see fire department crews at the store? Because the crews work a 24-hour shift, they must eat their lunch and dinner at the station. At times firefighters all eat the same meal, as a group. The crews pay for their food out of their own pockets. So, after the equipment is checked and the housework completed, one of the fire trucks will then make a quick trip to the grocery store to purchase the food for the shift. All crews remain in service to respond to calls during this time.

Why does a fire truck come when you call for an ambulance? Why does a fire truck respond when I wanted an ambulance? Benton Fire Department is a First Responder level of emergency medical care, and many times we can respond faster than an ambulance can for an emergency medical response. Another reason a fire truck may arrive is because sometimes the Paramedics require our assistance in responding to medical emergencies.

Why does the Fire Department bring the fire engine just for a simple inspection? Two reasons: First, these inspections are conducted by on-duty engine companies that must be ready to respond to an emergency call from the field. Second, an important part of the value of the public safety inspection is to familiarize your local firefighters with the buildings and business in Benton. While they check for hazards and consult with business owners on how best to eliminate or minimize the likelihood of a fire, they also familiarize themselves with access points and the layout of the facility.

Why do firefighters break out windows and cut holes in roof during a fire? Firefighters ventilate smoke, superheated, poisonous, or explosive gases for safety and visibility. This allows firefighters to get inside the building to find and extinguish the fire, thereby reducing property damage. This also reduces the chance of a possible dangerous explosion.

Why do you block traffic lanes at auto accidents, sometimes more lanes than necessary? We block traffic lanes for the safety of our personnel and our patients. Blocking extra lanes keep our personnel safe when they go back to our apparatus to get more equipment and help protect the victim we are trying to stabilize. Over 25 firefighters are killed or injured each year while working at incidents on streets and highways.

A fire hose is lying across the road. Should I drive over it? Firefighters are very concerned about running over fire hoses because the hose can be damaged and any firefighter at the end of a nozzle will have the water interrupted and possibly cause injuries or death. Any hose that is driven over without protection has to be taken out of service and tested.

Why do I need to keep weeds and bushes away from fire hydrants on my property? Weeds and bushes should be kept three feet from fire hydrants for visibility and accessibility. How do I schedule a Fire Drill? Training is provided by Benton Fire Department. We can assist you in organizing and conducting an orderly evacuation, and evaluating results with management of the facility. To schedule a Fire Drill contact Benton Fire Department at (618)439-2511

What if I smell Gas in my home? You will need to get out of the house and then call 9-1-1 for the Fire Department from outside of the house or from a neighbor’s house. The use of a phone could cause the gas to ignite if you called from inside the house.

Why do firefighters work 24-hour shifts? Firefighters work 24-hour shifts, because unlike police, firefighters can’t go out and perform training, inspections etc. during the nighttime. It would take more firefighters to cover 8 hour shifts. Firefighters at Benton work a 56 hour work week and the 24 hour shift allows this. This type of schedule is the most cost-effective work schedule to provide fire protection and is the most common.

What other responsibilities do firefighters have other than fighting fires? Emergency response calls represents about fifteen percent of the work of a typical fire department in Benton. The number of residential and commercial fires has steadily decreased over the years due to a variety of factors including improvements in construction, a greater public awareness of the risk factors leading to fires and a significant reduction in smoking nationwide. Fires, however, are only some of the emergencies to which the Benton Fire Department responds. Nearly eighty percent of the Benton Fire Department’s emergency responses are, in fact, calls for medical aid, including illness/accidents at home and work, and injuries resulting from vehicle crashes. Other calls for emergency response involve hazardous materials releases, technical rescues, response to fire alarms and other calls for public assistance. Firefighters also spend much of their time maintaining equipment, doing routine public safety inspections for businesses and rental housing, training for all types of emergency responses and filling out the reports and paperwork associated with these activities.

What should I do when I see or hear an emergency vehicle coming towards me when I’m driving? When it is safe to do so, you should pull over to the right and stop until all emergency vehicles have safely passed. If you cannot safely maneuver to the right, simply stop and stay stopped so the vehicles can go around you safely.

My smoke detector is chirping, what does that mean? Most modern smoke detectors will chirp to alert you the batteries are low, you should replace the batteries and test your smoke detector. Smoke detectors can be purchased at any hardware or large commercial department store.

How often should I change the batteries in my smoke detectors? We recommend you change the batteries in your smoke detectors every 6 months, an easy way to remember is to change batteries when you reset your clock for daylight savings time.

Does the Fire Department fill fire extinguishers? Benton Fire Department is not equipped to fill fire extinguishers at this time. However, you can find local fire extinguisher businesses in the yellow pages to refill them.

Can I burn leaves in my yard? Yes, yard waste can be burned during daylight hours.

Can I have recreational fire in my backyard? You can have a recreational fire in your backyard, and we suggest making sure you use a fire pit to contain the fire safely while enjoying it. When you are done please make sure the fire is extinguished.

Can I ride along with the Fire Department? Yes, citizens can request to ride along on a fire engine. For more information contact the Benton Fire Department to schedule a ride along. (618)439-2511

How much does a Fire Truck cost responding to a fire? Fire Engines and Ladder Trucks are supported by taxpayer revenues and there is no charge for these pieces of equipment.

How do I sign up for a First Aid or CPR class? Benton Fire Department does not currently offer First Aid or CPR Classes to the public. You can, however, contact the local community college to gain these lifesaving skills.