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Fire & Life Safety

Safety Tips

Fire Extinguishers

Keeping one or more fire extinguishers in key locations around your home is an important fire safety practice.

Types of Fire Extinguishers
Fire extinguishers come in five classifications, depending on the type of fire. Some extinguishers are rated for multiple types of fire. It is important to use the right extinguisher or it can be dangerous.

  • Class A – for fires that contain ordinary combustibles such as paper, wood, cloth, plastics and rubber
  • Class B – for fires that contain flammable liquids like oil, grease and gasoline
  • Class C – for fires involving energized electrical equipment such as tools or appliances
  • Class D – for fires involving combustible metals (used in factories)
  • Class K – for fires involving vegetable-based oils used in deep frying (used in commercial kitchens)
  • Class A-B-C – a multi-purpose extinguisher ideally suited for residential use in kitchens and garages

Be sure to purchase a fire extinguisher that is tested by an independent testing laboratory (“UL” marking). And, make sure you are physically able to handle the extinguisher. Some models are heavy and may be hard to operate and hold at the same time.

Using a Fire Extinguisher
Know how to operate the extinguisher quickly. You won’t have time to read the instructions during an emergency! When using a fire extinguisher, remember the word P.A.S.S.– Pull. Aim. Squeeze. Sweep.

  • Pull the pin. Some extinguishers require unlocking a latch or pressing a puncture lever.
  • Aim low. Point the extinguisher nozzle (or its horn or hose) at the base of the fire.
  • Squeeze the handle. This releases the extinguishing agent.
  • Sweep side to side at the base of the fire. Continue until the fire appears to be out.

 When NOT to Fight a Fire
If any of these conditions exist, shut the door to keep the fire contained then get out and wait for the fire department:

  • If the fire could block your only exit
  • If the fire is spreading too quickly
  • If the fire is too large
  • If your house is filling with smoke
  • If you are unsure how to use your fire extinguisher
  • If your instincts simply tell you not to

 Additional Considerations

  • Only use a fire extinguisher after you have called 911 and all members of your home have been alerted to the fire. Make sure you can stay low to avoid the smoke and that the fire is not blocking your only exit.
  • Most fires start small. If the fire is contained to a single object, such as a trash can, you may want to try using a fire extinguisher to put out the flames. Remember you only have seconds – a fire burning for just one minute will have tripled its original size.
  • Use a lid to cover a frying pan fire. This cuts off the source of oxygen and chokes out the fire.
  • Keep your fire extinguisher in an easily accessible area. Make sure it is not blocked by anything that would keep you from grabbing it quickly in an emergency.

For more information, call the SVFD Prevention Division at 892-4153.

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. 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.”