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Fire & Life Safety

Safety Tips

Home Hazards


How Fire Safe is your Home?

Make fire safety a “family business” by involving the entire family in a fire safety inspection. Here’s a comprehensive checklist to use as a guide.


Check for fire hazards in your home. Correct any problems NOW!


  • Matches stored out of reach of children.
  • No overloaded outlets or extension cords.
  • No curtains or towel racks close to the range.
  • Flammable liquids (cleaning fluids, contact adhesives, etc.) or aerosols stored away from the range or other heat source.  (Remember, even a pilot light can set vapors on fire.)
  • No attractive or frequently used items stored above the range where someone could get burned reaching for them (especially small children in search of cookies or other goodies).
  • No worn or frayed appliance or extension cords.

Living Room, Family Room, Den, Bedrooms

  • Matches and lighters stored out of reach of children.
  • Use only large ashtrays (small ashtrays are too dangerous).
  • Empty ashtrays frequently (when all signs of heat and burning are gone).
  • Fireplace kept screened and cleaned regularly.
  • Replace worn or frayed extension cords or other electrical cords.
  • No extension cords run under rugs or carpets or looped over nails or other sharp objects that could cause them to fray.
  • Heating equipment kept three feet away from curtains, furniture, and papers.
  • No overloaded outlets or extension cords.

Basement, Garage, Storage Areas

  • No newspapers or other rubbish stored near furnace, water heater, or other heat source.
  • No oily, greasy rags stored, except when kept in labeled and sealed non-glass containers (preferably metal).
  • No gasoline stored in the house or basement (It should be stored away from the house in an outbuilding and only in safety cans that have flame arresters and pressure-relief values.)
  • No flammable liquids stored near workbench or pilot light or in anything other than labeled, sealed metal containers. (This includes varnish, paint remover, paint thinner, contact adhesives, cleaning fluids, etc.)
  • No overloaded outlets or extension cords.
  • All fuses of the correct size.


Do you allow unsafe habits?  These guidelines may help your family become more safety aware.

  • Never put cigarettes out in potted plants. Potting soil is highly flammable! View Video
  • Wear close-fitting sleeves while cooking. (No loose sleeves, shins, blouses or skirts that may catch fire.)
  • Never leaving cooking unattended.
  • Never play with matches or lighters.
  • Never use gasoline to start a fire in the grill or add lighter fluid to an already started fire.
  • No smoking in bed, or in a chair or on the sofa when tired, drinking, or taking medication.
  • Never spray aerosols while smoking or near a space heater, range or other ignition source.
  • No smoking while using a cleaning fluid, paint thinner or other flammable liquid.
  • Never use a cigarette lighter after spilling flammable fluid on your hands or clothing.
  • Never reach over a range or climb onto a range to get something stored above it.
  • Never lean against a range for warmth or stand too close to a heater or fireplace.
  • Never let a small child blow out a match.
  • Never use a lighted match, lighter or candle to illuminate a dark area, such as a closet.


Do you have these safety items in your home?

  • Working smoke detectors on all levels and outside sleeping areas (each story or wing, basement, etc.) Have you tested the detector in the last month? Changed the batteries within the last year?
  • ABC fire extinguisher in the kitchen and/or workshop?
  • Emergency exit plan with two ways out from each room and a meeting place outdoors?

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.”