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From the Chief: Hard Work and Success

May 23, 2018

This spring has been busy for our personnel with several large initiatives and opportunities to celebrate success.

We are putting the finishing touches on our new 2018-2023 Strategic Plan, thanks to the solid work of more than 100 community and department (internal) stakeholders. Our community-driven Strategic Planning process took place over four days in April, beginning with 70 community stakeholders who shared their thoughts, concerns, expectations and priorities during a lunchtime work session at Spokane Valley Tech. To ensure our programs and services continue to meet the expectations and priorities of the communities we serve, a 40-member department stakeholder group used the feedback from our community stakeholdbryan collinsers to identify 10 overarching strategic initiatives. Goals and objectives were then developed for each initiative which comprise our new 2018-2023 Strategic Plan. The draft plan is currently being finalized and will be published on our website in the coming weeks.

We continue to make excellent progress on the complex project of transitioning our 911 communications functions into an integrated Spokane Regional Communications Center. This is a joint effort involving a broad base of constituents from around Spokane County. In late March, the County Commissioners unanimously approved the resolution and charter to create this new center, currently being referred to as SPOCOM. This action was a major milestone in the project, which is now moving forward extremely quickly with the establishment of a governance board and the start of an Executive Director search. The new center will allow for all first responders (Fire/EMS, Law, etc.) to work in a collective and technologically-connected environment, providing an efficient, effective, affordable and sustainable system that will serve Spokane County citizens with greater efficiencies and depth of resources well into the future. We expect to transition to the new center early in 2019.

Our newly-published 2017 Annual Report recaps many of our achievements and is itself a celebration, as it is a ‘first’ for our department. I hope you’ll read through the report and share your feedback with us! We are also celebrating being honored as a 2018 Red Cross Hero for our partnership with the Greater Inland Northwest Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Spokane Fire Department on the Home Fire Safety Campaign. Through this campaign, the three organizations have jointly installed thousands of free smoke alarms in vulnerable homes across the region. And, we are thrilled to be celebrating our 50% Cardiac Arrest Survival Rate (known as “Utstein Bystander”) for 2017, one of the highest rates in Washington State. This is nearly double the 29.7% Spokane County rate and also exceeds the 36.5% National rate. Our three-year average (2015-2017) is 53.3% – worth celebrating! These results can be attributed in part to our focus on high-quality “Pit Crew” CPR performed by our firefighters every day, along with an increase in CPR-trained citizens and expanded availability of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs). Our new Annual Report includes detailed information about this exciting and important achievement.

I look forward to sharing more about our initiatives and achievements as the year progresses. 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.

Media Contact

  • Julie Happy
  • 509-892-4155

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.”