With more than 27 years of firefighting and fire prevention experience under his belt, Bill Clifford is a seasoned fire service veteran.
After graduating from University High School, Clifford began his career as a volunteer firefighter with the Millwood Fire Department. He was hired and rose through the ranks to become Fire Chief, a position he held for 10 years before Millwood was absorbed by the Spokane Valley Fire Department in 2004. When Clifford came to SVFD, he joined the Prevention Division and for the past 12+ years has focused on public education and preventing fires.
In his position as Assistant Fire Marshal, Clifford investigates the origin and cause of fires. When the fire is accidental, he looks for ways to prevent the same kind of fire from happening again in our community. When the fire is intentional (arson), he uses his training and resources as a Commissioned Deputy Sheriff to track and arrest the arsonist to prevent more fires.
Clifford also works with local businesses to prevent accidents and fires in the workplace. He annually inspects commercial buildings to ensure their fire suppression systems, alarm systems and commercial operations meet current fire codes. He documents hazards, type of building construction, fire alarm, sprinkler systems and other information important for firefighters to know when they respond.
“When we work with a business and educate them on the fire codes, it allows the business to stay open and it keeps their employees and customers safe,” he explained. “It’s also safer for our firefighters if they respond to a fire, rescue or hazardous material call at that location. The information obtained during the inspection is accessible on the mobile data computers in every responding apparatus.”
In addition to fire investigation and inspection, Clifford also heads up a portion of the Department’s public education. He oversees the Junior Fire Marshal and EDITH Fire Safety House programs for second and third graders, respectively. Every spring and fall, SVFD off-duty firefighters go out to Valley elementary schools to teach children about fire safety. Clifford also teaches fire extinguisher classes for businesses. The classes are free and contribute to the prevention-oriented focus of the Division and Department.
“I’ve always wanted to be a firefighter,” Clifford grinned. “It is definitely rewarding to contribute to the safety to our community.”