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Fire & Life Safety

Safety Tips

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas produced by burning gasoline, wood, propane, charcoal or other fuel. When these fuels burn incompletely, CO is produced. Home heating and cooking appliances can produce CO if damaged, misused or improperly ventilated. Vehicles such as cars, trucks, tractors and lawn mowers are also a source of CO. Any motor allowed to run indoors can produce dangerous levels of CO that can kill quickly.

Common household sources of CO include vehicles, generators, gas ranges, ovens, furnaces, small gasoline power equipment like weed trimmers and chain saws, boat engines, gas and camp stoves, lanterns, and burning charcoal and wood. Recent research has shown that CO can even penetrate drywall at toxic levels, which is why you should never warm up your vehicle in an attached garage, or use a barbeque or generator indoors, in the garage, or in a carport.

Steps you can take to protect your loved ones from CO poisoning:

  • Install Carbon Monoxide Alarms – install at least one CO alarm on each level of your home, in the hallway near each sleeping area. Make sure its warning signal is clearly audible. Replace CO alarms as recommended by the manufacturer, typically every 2-5 years. CO alarms are also available for motor homes and boats.
  • Do not run motors indoors – never warm up your car in the garage, even with the door open. And never place a gas powered generator inside your home, garage or carport.
  • Inspect heat sources – have a qualified professional inspect, and if necessary repair, all chimneys, fireplaces and wood stoves each year before the onset of cold weather.
  • Do not operate gas and charcoal barbeque indoors – grills can produce CO. Never use them inside or in the garage, even it the garage doors are opened.

Breathing in high levels of CO can make you pass out and eventually kill you. Senior citizens, infants, children, pregnant women, and people with certain medical conditions are more susceptible to CO poisoning than a healthy adult. Symptoms of low-level CO poisoning can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are similar to the flu: headaches, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain and confusion.

Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when carbon monoxide builds up in the bloodstream. When too much carbon monoxide is in the air, the body replaces the oxygen in the red blood cells with carbon monoxide. This can lead to serious tissue damage or even death. Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur by exposure to a small amount of CO over a longer period of time or by a large amount of CO over a shorter amount of time. In certain conditions, CO can kill a person in a matter of a few minutes – and everyone is particularly vulnerable while sleeping – which is why early CO detection is so important.

Remember: Carbon Monoxide Alarms are NOT smoke alarms. You need both – or combo units – in your home!

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.

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. Commissioner Burch is co-owner and Business Manager of Neurotherapy Northwest. 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.”

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