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Feb 26, 2021

For Immediate Release:

February 24, 2021


Julie Happy

Community Affairs Manager

Spokane Valley Fire Department





Spokane Valley Fire Department (SVFD) has been awarded a State Farm Good Neighbor Grant in the amount of $15,000. The Spokane County area, including areas within SVFD’s jurisdiction are considered vulnerable to wildfire risk.

“We live in a WUI zone; an area that lies between wildland and human development,” said Spokane Valley Fire Department Fire Marshal, Greg Rogers.  “WUI fires include brush, grass, forest fires and other outdoor fires, and our department is dispatched to these types of calls every month of the year. As the threat of wildfire is increasing, it is becoming more important that each resident take steps to protect their homes and their community.”

The funds will be used to support a Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Awareness and Preparedness Education project that the department is developing this year. The project will help SVFD residents learn more about their specific WUI fire risks and ways to mitigate those risks and better prepare their homes and property against a wildfire.

SVFD applied in October 2020 for one of the Safety Grants to be used towards a Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Awareness and Preparedness Education Project. State Farm focuses their Safety Grant funding on several key areas of neighborhood safety:

  • Auto and roadway safety.
  • Teen driver education.
  • Home safety and fire prevention.
  • Disaster preparedness.
  • Disaster recovery.

State Farm makes it part of their business to be “like a good neighbor”, helping to build safer, stronger, and better educated communities throughout the US. They do that by supporting the communities where they live and work and focus on giving back to communities by establishing their “Good Neighbor Citizenships Company Grants”. The grants focus on three areas: safety, community development, and education.

The State Farm Safety Grant was a good fit for our WUI project not only because of their annual Good Neighbor grants, but also due to State Farm’s partnership with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Each year, on the first Saturday of May, State Farm and the NFPA partner together to sponsor a campaign promoting Wildfire Community Preparedness. It was this strong commitment to home fire safety and fire prevention and WUI that convinced us to apply for the grant with State Farm.

According to the NFPA, more than 46 million residences in 70,000 communities in the US are at risk for WUI fires. It is through preparatory actions taken by homeowners that we can all reduce the risk not only to individual homes, but to our entire community. Simple steps such as creating a defensible space around your home can reduce the WUI fire risk. Through wildfire preparedness activities we can help make our community a safer place to live.


About Spokane Valley Fire Department
The Spokane Valley Fire Department (SVFD) serves a population of 125,000+ over 75-square miles, including the cities of Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake and Millwood, as well as surrounding unincorporated areas. In 2020, our cross-trained Firefighter/EMTs and Firefighter/Paramedics responded to more than 18,700 emergency calls.

Established in 1940, SVFD is committed to pursuing excellence and is distinguished as an accredited agency by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI), and by SVFD’s Class 2 fire insurance rating from the Washington Survey and Rating Bureau

Connect with SVFD at: For department news, safety information, and timely updates, find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.


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.”