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HOW TO STAY FIRE SAFE DURING THE UPCOMING WINTER MONTHS

Nov 29, 2021

Heating, holiday decorations, electricity, winter storms, and candles all contribute to an increased risk of fire during the winter months. We have already seen several house fires caused by some of these hazards and the winter season is just beginning. There are several things you can do to make your home more fire safe. There are also some activities you can personally adopt that can help you be more fire safe during the upcoming winter months.

Here are some safety tips provided by the US Fire Administration (USFA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Candles

December is the peak time of year for home candle fires. Any open flame is dangerous.

  • Keep candles at least 12 inches from anything that can burn. (Think about using flameless candles in your home. They look and smell like real candles!)
  • Put candles in sturdy holders and place them where they cannot be knocked down easily.
  • Make sure candles cannot be reached by children or pets.
  • Blow out all candles if you leave the room, get sleepy, or go to bed. 

Electrical home fires are a leading cause of home fires in the US. Around half of all home electrical fires involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment, while another half involved other known types of equipment like washer or dryer fans, and portable or stationary space heaters.

  • Plug only 1 heat-producing appliance (coffee maker, space heater, microwave, etc.) directly into a wall outlet at a time.
  • Never use an extension cord with a heat-producing appliance.
  • Extension cords should only be used temporarily. (Check electrical cords often. Replace cracked, damaged, and loose electrical or extension cords.)
  • Keep lamps, light fixtures, and light bulbs away from anything that can burn, including furniture, bedding, curtains, clothing, and flammable or combustible gases and liquids.

Heating is the second leading cause of US home fires and home fire injuries and the third leading cause of home fire deaths. December, January, and February are the peak months for heating fires. Space heaters are most often involved in home heating equipment fires, as well as most deaths and injuries in home fires caused by heating equipment.

  • Give space heaters their space! Keep anything that can burn at least three feet from heating equipment (furnace, fireplace, wood stove, portable heater, etc.).
  • Turn space heaters off when you leave the room or go to bed.
  • Have your heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
  • Never use an oven to heat your home.

Make sure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms throughout your home. To schedule a home fire safety visit, contact us at 509-928-1700, or at www.spokanevalleyfire.com.

Did you Know?

 

  • 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. 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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