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Jul 21, 2020

July is Building Safety Month.

Let’s talk about some important residential sprinkler facts:

  • 7 People Die in home fires every day
  • 80% of all fire deaths occur where people live
  • 12,300 civilian injuries occur in home fires annually
  • $6.7 Billion in damage

*According to the Nation Fire Protection agencies’ data for 2015

Not many people understand how dangerous residential fires become or how quickly they can spread with deadly results. The use of lightweight construction materials and larger fuel loads found inside modern homes creates an environment that is much more life-threatening during a fire, for citizens and firefighters alike. Residential sprinklers are a cost-effective and easy solution to mitigating the risk of fire. Common myths about sprinkler systems are; they are complicated, expensive, can do more damage than the fire, and are difficult to install. These myths need to be dispelled, and the facts are that residential sprinklers are simple in design and cost less to install in a new home than an upgrade to flooring. Residential sprinkler systems cost less than $1.30 a square foot of sprinkled space, and the connection of the system to the residential water supply line makes installation simple. The average amount of fire damage to a home protected by a sprinkler system is approximately $1,200 per fire event versus $100,000 of damage in unprotected homes.

Fire sprinkler systems are not complicated and operate on a straightforward principle. Fire heats a sprinkler head to the point where it opens by the heat, impacting it. Once activated, the water in the line begins to flow through a specially designed sprinkler head that creates a shower of water of approximately 15’ radius. It’s not like Hollywood, where every sprinkler goes off at once, drenching everything. Only the one head which the heat has activated discharges water, and generally puts the fire out, or at the least, slows fires spread so that firefighters can put it out quickly upon arrival.

Developers and contractors can even save money on development costs while increasing profits when they choose to install residential sprinkler systems. Hydrant spacing and street size requirements can change to benefit the developer’s bottom line, and additional building lots may be approved. High lighting the home’s safety, can set the builders product apart from the competition while lowering the average cost of homeowners insurance for the buyer. Installing residential sprinklers and creating a better home while providing for a safer community creates a TRIPLE WIN, for the community, developers, and the Fire Department!

Bottom line? Fire sprinklers work, and they have worked for over 100 years in commercial and residential applications, so why not install them into Spokane Valley homes today? With such a proven track record of success, there really is no downside to residential sprinkler systems. Ask your builder today about them, and if you are a builder who would like more information, please contact Spokane Valley Fire Department to see how we can add value to your next project.


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.”