The Fire Service was created (primarily) to fight fires. Since then our mission has expanded into many other areas but at our core we fight fires. Today, these activities are referred to as “Fire Suppression” activities.
Fire suppression involves preparing for, responding to, and engaging in tasks necessary to control and extinguish fires. SVFD responds to many different types of fires:
- Structural: homes, buildings, barns, commercial structures, etc.
- Wildland: brush, timber, vegetation, etc.
- Vehicular: cars, trucks, trailers, etc.
- Equipment: machinery, heating/cooling units, stoves, appliances, etc.
- Rubbish: trash, garbage, etc.
- Fuel: gasoline, natural gas, etc.
- Miscellaneous: campfires, power poles, etc.
- Smoke/Odor: carbon monoxide and smoke alarms
To accomplish all of this the SVFD has eleven (11) front line, fully staffed fire apparatus, seven (7) specialized apparatus (one fully staffed), four (4) reserve fire apparatus, and five (5) command/control vehicles.
The front line fire apparatus consist of nine (9) Engine Companies and two (2) Ladder Companies.
Engines are designed to put out fires (extinguishment) by applying water to the fire. In order to accomplish this they carry a water pump, hose, ladders and various types of task specific tools. Some also carry the “Jaws of Life”, more technically referred to as “Extrication Tools” for use at auto accidents, Engines are staffed with 3-4 Fire Fighters.
Ladders are designed for rescue, fire extinguishment, and support. These apparatus are equipped with additional ladders, specialized forcible entry tools, and several power saws for use when crews need to cut holes in roofs. All of our Ladder apparatus also have a water pump, which enables our Ladder Companies to extinguish fires without the aid of an Engine Company.
SVFD has three (3) Brush Trucks used for brush/timber fires. These are designed to go off road and carry foam (which helps extinguish fires quicker.) They also have specialized hand tools for digging a fire line.
Command and Control apparatus are designed to coordinate and focus firefighting efforts. Battalion Chiefs and Safety Officers respond in these apparatus.
The crews are highly trained and conducting multi company fire suppression drills throughout the year. Crews are assigned to a specific apparatus and station. This enables crews to focus on the structures in their area so that potential suppression activities will be much more effective.
When a fire is reported, the number and type of apparatus/crews dispatched is dependent on the type and size of the fire. For example, a residential house fire response will include the following:
- Three (3) Engine Companies (9-12 Fire Fighters)
- One (1) Ladder Company (3-4 Fire Fighters)
- One (1) Rescue Company (3-4 Fire Fighters)
- Two (2) Command Apparatus (2 Battalion Chiefs)
- One (1) Safety Officer
Larger Structure Fires will get additional Apparatus and Crews. Brush Fires are categorized into “High, Moderate, and Low” response levels. A low level response will get one (1) brush truck. A high response will get one (1) brush truck, one (1) additional engine, two (2) Command apparatus, and one (1) Safety Officer.
The Spokane Valley Fire Department has agreements with neighboring Fire Departments to provide service across district boundaries. This provides for the closest appropriate apparatus and crew to respond to a given incident. For example, a house fire in the vicinity of 32n Ave. and Sullivan Rd. would include apparatus from Spokane County Fire District #8.