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Jan 13, 2021

For Immediate Release:

January 13, 2021


Julie Happy

Community Affairs Manager

Spokane Valley Fire






Spokane Valley Fire Department (SVFD) is one of several local Fire Agencies that will participate in the Sound Off Program.  The program is designed to teach elementary school children how to stay safe from fire.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) is a FEMA grant sub-recipient and will participate in the Sound Off Program.

“Sound Off with the Home Fire Safety Patrol is a school-based fire safety program created through a grant to the Michigan Public Health Institute (MPHI), a non-profit organization,” said SVFD Fire Marshal, Greg Rogers. “The program teaches children in grades 2-3 and their caregivers how to stay safe from fire and offers home safety visits to install free smoke alarms in homes that need them.”

Washington joins six other states (Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Vermont) as new Phase 1 State Teams. Each state team has selected 3-5 local teams to deliver three Sound Off lessons in 2nd and 3rd grade classrooms in a total of 29 high-risk communities. State teams will distribute free smoke alarms provided by the grant to install in student and other high-risk homes.

Spokane Valley Fire Department is extremely proud to be a part of this program that helps educate and create a safe community for children and their families,” said SVFD Community Risk Reduction (CRR) Specialist, Caroline Kusher. “This program upholds CRR practices and promotes fire safe communities as a way of life for everyone. To learn about some of our other CRR efforts, join us on social media during the 2nd Annual CRR Week, January 18 -24. This year’s theme is “Getting Ahead of the Call”.

If classroom visits are not possible due to COVID-19, some virtual tools have been developed and more will be developed during the grant period. Local teams in Washington include Lacey Fire District 3, North County Regional Fire Authority, Pasco Fire Department, Spokane Fire Department, and Spokane Valley Fire Department.

Over the next few months, representatives from these agencies and the SFMO will receive virtual training from MPHI project managers. The training will cover Sound Off history, best practices, and development; the teaching kit and other printed materials; and review online videos and virtual materials.

The SFMO is excited to participate in this proven and worthy program as it works towards making Washington a safe place to live, work, and play.


About Spokane Valley Fire Department
Spokane Valley Fire Department (SVFD) serves a population of 125,000, including the cities of Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake and Millwood, as well as surrounding unincorporated areas within the district’s 75-square miles. In 2020, SVFD firefighter crews including its paramedics and EMTs responded to 18,789 emergency calls.

Established eighty years ago in 1940, SVFD is committed to pursuing excellence and is distinguished as an Accredited Agency by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International and by the fire district’s ISO Class 2 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.”