Emergency

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EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES (EMS)

Spokane Valley Fire Department has been providing pre-hospital Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for nearly 45 years.  In the early years, EMS in Spokane Valley was delivered by Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) in Squads who provided Basic Life Support (BLS). A few years later, all firefighters became certified EMTs and the Squads were staffed by Paramedics to deliver Advanced Life Support (ALS).

Today, we respond to medical emergencies with eight Engines, two Ladders, and two Squads.  Seven of our Engines and both Ladders are staffed with Paramedics and provide ALS services.  Our remaining Engine is currently BLS but is anticipated to be ALS-capable by the end of 2022.  Our Squads are staffed with two EMTs and respond to lower-acuity medical calls to keep other units in service. 

On incidents where the closest Engine or Ladder does not have a Paramedic on board, and the patient requires a higher level or care, an ALS (Advanced Life Support/Paramedic) unit will respond as well. If transport to the hospital is required, a private ambulance operated by American Medical Response will also respond.  That is why you sometimes get two fire apparatus and an ambulance at your house for a medical call. In 2021, 81.8% of the Spokane Valley Fire Department’s 22,422 calls for service were medically related.

All Firefighters are certified to provide emergency medical services at one of two different levels of medical care:

  • EMTs – Basic Life Support (BLS), are trained to perform life-sustaining procedures including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), controlling bleeding, treating shock, stabilizing injuries and wounds, and other first aid skills
  • Paramedics – Advanced Life Support (ALS), have a solid foundation in BLS skills, are also trained to perform more advanced life sustaining procedures including airway management, drug administration, stroke and cardiac care, ECG rhythm interpretation, Intravenous (IV) and Intraosseous (IO) access, and other advanced medical skills and procedures

With a focus on continuous improvement, Spokane Valley Fire Department strives to ensure that our Paramedics and EMTs are highly trained, well equipped and that we have our fingers on the pulse of developing trends in emergency medicine.

In 2015 we launched a Rescue Task Force (RTF), which is an elite group of EMTs and Paramedics who are equipped and trained to go into active shooter and other criminal mass casualty incidents, providing lifesaving care on the incident scene with support of law enforcement.  In 2018, the Helicopter Rescue Medic program was started with the Spokane Fire Department to provide specially trained Paramedics capable of performing remote patient access and treatment from a Spokane County Sheriff’s Department helicopter.   

Pit Crew CPR

The Spokane Valley Fire Department consistently achieves some of the highest cardiac survival rates in Washington State which is consistently in the top states in the nation.  The measure is based on the “Utstein Bystander” measurement, an industry standard with four criteria: 1) the collapse is witnessed, 2) the collapse has a cardiac origin, 3) a bystander intervenes with CPR and/or AED, and 4) the patient is in a shock-able rhythm.

The Department credits “Pit Crew” CPR, an innovative approach to cardiac arrest intervention adopted by SVFD in 2012 with this high survival rate. “Pit Crew” has become the Spokane County-wide CPR standard for first responders. The SVFD conducts this training annually with the City of Spokane Fire Department, Spokane County Fire District 8, Spokane County Fire District 9, AMR ambulance crews, and other neighboring fire departments.

Loosely modeled after NASCAR, “Pit Crew” CPR is an approach to a cardiac arrest incident that emphasizes defined roles, responsibilities and the efficient and planned use of personnel on scene to provide the highest ratio of compressions throughout the arrest, in conjunction with other advanced life support procedures.  In “Pit Crew” CPR, every crew member has a role and they know exactly what to do. The approach provides structure to ensure a compression rate of 100 per minute is maintained. This ensures blood continues to reach the brain which gives the victim of a cardiac arrest the best possible chance of surviving.

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.

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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