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From the Chief: Major Projects in 2018

Jan 24, 2018

bryan collinsAs we kick off another new year, I would like to catch you up on a few of the major items that we will be working toward accomplishing during 2018.

Strategic Plan – We are beginning the process of updating our five year Strategic Plan. The plan is a key document for the Department as it sets the vision and the work plan for the next five year period. Our current plan (2013-2017) laid out 39 initiatives for the Department to work toward, and I am proud to report that 37 of those items are either completed or in-progress. Each year when managers set their goals and develop their budgets they reference the Strategic Plan for guidance. The Department will be reaching out to many of you in the community for input into the levels, and types of services that are important to you during this process. External and internal stakeholder meetings will take place early in April and our new Strategic Plan should be completed by the end of May. If asked to participate, I hope you take the opportunity to share your wisdom and knowledge with us as we build a plan to ensure the continued excellent services that you’ve come to expect.

Capital Projects – We have relatively few large capital improvement projects planned in 2018. The largest and one of the most important to the health and safety of our employees, will be the replacement of our Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBAs). The SCBA is the tank and mask assembly that allows our firefighters to breathe clean air during a fire emergency. The Department has been preparing for replacement SCBAs and has submitted a grant proposal to the Federal government which would provide for half of the cost. The replacement will occur later in the year after the grant award cycle and is considered the highest capital priority for 2018.

Regional Communications – We will continue to work with our partners throughout the Spokane County public safety community to design and implement a new “Regional Communications Center”. This project began in earnest during 2017 and will take several years to complete. When fully implemented, all public safety communications throughout the County will be handled from the Center. This includes 911 calls or texts to the radio communications with emergency response personnel. The Center will position Spokane County well for the future, providing a high quality, affordable, modern and sustainable communications system for many years to come.

Maintenance & Operations Levy – This Fall, our staff will begin a public dialog around the SVFD Maintenance and Operations (M&O) Levy which will be on the ballot for renewal in 2019. As in years past, our efforts will be focused on engaging our communities about the services we provide, and how monies are budgeted and spent. As this levy renewal represents over 50% of the Department’s funding, it is critical that we make sure our public if fully informed about the services we provide and how we intend to continue prudently managing our financial resources in the future. I look forward to speaking more with you on this topic in the coming months.

These are just a few of the many projects we are undertaking during 2018. I have no doubt that our dedicated staff throughout the organization will once again meet these challenges, and others that come up along the way! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and I look forward to speaking to you about these and many other items as we move through 2018.

As always, thank you for your continued support!

~ Bryan Collins, Fire Chief

Did you Know?


  • You can sign up for a station tour. Great for small groups.
  • You should replace the batteries in your smoke alarms twice a year.
  • Creating a defensible space with regards to wildfires could just save your home or property.

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Commissioner Patrick Burch

Board Member Since: July 18, 2016
Current term expires: December 31, 2025

Commissioner Burch was appointed to the Board of Fire Commissioners in July 2016 to fill an unexpired term and has served continuously since that time. He became a volunteer member of the Department’s CERT Team in 2008 and later served as a team leader/member of Fire Corps.

“I admire the Spokane Valley Fire Department’s focus on continuous improvement. Our dedication to the community, fiscal responsibility and the fact that we are one of the few accredited fire departments in the State of Washington all make SVFD great!”

Note: As the individual appointed to this non-partisan position, Commissioner Burch was elected by voters in November 2017.

Commissioner Mike Kester

Board Member Since: January 1, 2020
Current six year term expires: December 31, 2025

Commissioner Mike Kester was elected to the Board of Fire Commissioners in November, 2019.

Commissioner Kester grew up in the Spokane area and has a deep appreciation for just how fortunate we all are to live in this beautiful area. He believes that being involved in this community is not something to take lightly.

His background includes joining the United States Coast Guard (U.S.C.G) after high school and serving on a port firefighting boat doing search and rescue in Portland, Oregon.  After the Coast Guard, he attended the University of Montana earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Resource Management.  He then went on to work for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, serving in their Parks Department.

Spokane was the next step in his career. He  went to work for the Burlington Santa Fe Railroad and the next 22 years was spent as a conductor moving freight. Commissioner Kester  retired in 2010 after a workplace injury and now,  he and his wife enjoy making meals for World War II Veterans, helping out at the YMCA ,and providing meals for those in need.

“In the 25 years of being a resident of the Spokane Valley the professionalism of the SVFD has inspired me to take an active part in bettering our community. We have one of the best fire departments in the whole Pacific Northwest. My wife and I have 3 children and 5 grandchildren. I have dedicated my life to keeping them safe.  I want to apply that dedication to our community.  Keeping us all safe is a goal we should all aspire to in one way or another. Communication within the department and with the public is, and always will be one of my primary goals.”

Commissioner John Guarisco

Board Member since: August 27, 2018
Current six year term expires: December 31, 2027

Commissioner Guarisco was appointed to the Board of Fire Commissioners in August 2018 to fill an unexpired term and has served continuously since that time. Commissioner Guarisco founded Marjoni Marketing in 2004 and in 2010 merged with MDI marketing. He then pursued Real Estate, earning his license and now, currently serves the greater Spokane area as a licensed Realtor. He has long been active in the community and has won numerous awards during his career including the Volunteer of the Year (2014) and the Community Caring Award (2010) from the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce.  He is a member of the Greater Spokane Valley Rotary Club and holds an AA degree from Spokane Falls Community College.

Note: As the individual appointed to this non-partisan position, Commissioner Guarisco was elected by voters in November 2019.

Commissioner Bill Anderson

Board Member since: January 1, 2000
Current six year term expires: December 31, 2023

Commissioner Anderson served our community as a Spokane Valley Fire Department firefighter for 29 years. Throughout his career, he worked as a firefighter, dispatcher and engineer before he was promoted and became an officer. He was Station Captain of Millwood Station 2 when he retired in 1999. During his years as firefighter, he was an active leader of Spokane Valley Firefighters Local 876 and served as a trustee on the Washington State Council of Firefighters for 25 years.

“It’s important to me that we continue the good service we’ve always given the people. We’ve accomplished a lot and are pulling in the same direction to get better. I’m very proud of the Spokane Valley Fire Department.”

Commissioner Brian Asmus

Board Member Since: June 14, 2021
Current term expires: 

Commissioner Brian Asmus was appointed to the Spokane Valley Fire Department Board of Fire Commissioners in 2021.

Commissioner Asmus is the former Liberty Lake Police Chief and current Director of Safety and Security at Central Valley School District (CVSD).

“Brian Asmus brings extensive Public Safety leadership experience, and a long history of being actively engaged in his community to his new role as a SVFD Commissioner,” said SVFD Fire Chief, Bryan Collins. “During his time as a Police Chief, Brian interacted with SVFD firefighters and administrators on a regular basis, making him very familiar with our structure, standing within our communities, as well as with many of our current SVFD board members and personnel. Brian’s experience working and collaborating on regional issues aligns nicely with SVFD’s philosophy and will help us continue to be a catalyst for local and regional excellence and innovation.”