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Project RISK is a Spokane Valley Fire Department initiative to reduce fire and medical emergencies in our community through proactive, targeted outreach and education. Project RISK focuses on:

  • Residential
  • Inspection
  • Smoke Alarms
  • Knowledge

We analyze of our fire and medical emergency call data to identify the most frequent causes of fire and Emergency Medical Service (EMS) calls. We then focus our educational efforts and resources to address these identified ‘community risks’.

Project RISK is led by our Community Risk Reduction Specialist.

Community Risk Reduction (CRR) is a term used by the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) and is defined as “the identification and prioritization of risks followed by the integrated application of resources to improve public safety and reduce call volume.” CRR means that fire departments exist not only to respond to emergencies, but also to prevent emergencies and reduce the impact of those incidents.

Project RISK was launched by SVFD in July 2016. The initiative takes a systematic, collaborative approach to Community Risk Reduction. A continuous planning model is used to proactively assess the changing needs of the greater Spokane Valley and collaborate with other agencies to address the needs in a cost-effective manner.

Step 1: Identify Community Risks – many types of data are analyzed to identify the risks present in our community including emergency calls, firefighter interviews, demographics, hospital data, community partner data, and local, regional and national statistics and trends.

Step 2: Prioritize the Risk – the data is reviewed to prioritize the risk. Considerations include highest call volume, highest threat to life safety, highest threat to firefighters, highest threat to property, community partnerships, partner capacity, Department capacity and budget.

Step 3: Develop Strategies and Tactics – these are targeted and specific to positively impact the prioritized risk.

Step 4: Prepare the Plan

Step 5: Implement the Plan

Step 6: Monitor, evaluate and modify the plan – using data such as changes in calls, changes in outcomes, changes in perceptions and changes in behaviors.

Responsiveness and Adaptability are KEY to Community Risk Reduction

Project RISK Activities:

  • Smoke Alarm Installations – ongoing, free visits to install smoke alarms (as needed).  Also conducting two “Blitz” events each year, targeting specific neighborhoods based on data and identified community risk.
  • “Clutter Bags” – taking an idea by young firefighter Max Clutter, all SVFD fire engines now have a smoke alarm installation kit (Clutter Bag) on board. This makes it easy for crews to check for and install working smoke alarms in homes after responding to an emergency medical call.
  • Community Risk Assessment – analyzing Department call data for the past ten years (2007-2016) and performing deep data “dive” to identify causality trends.
  • Community Risk Reduction Coalition – joint effort with Spokane Fire Department to gather various community organizations and stakeholder groups to collaboratively identify and address community risks. This group is currently focused on reducing 1) falls by older adults; 2) cooking fires; 3) illegal burning
  • SVFD CRR Team – this 11-member internal team is working to prioritize risks for intervention, identify strategies, and develop, implement and monitor the plan as well as promote Department-wide support of Project RISK.

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. 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.”