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Aug 19, 2020

Let’s keep friends and family safe during summer activities and outings by following these guidelines for campfires, barbecues, boats, and more. While you’re enjoying fun in the sun, being safety-minded can prevent property damage, wildfires, burns, serious injuries, or even death. Keep you and your group out of danger this summer.

Summer Safety Tips ThumbnailSummertime Burn Safety ThumbnailFire Safety Onboard Handout With LOGO ThumbnailGrilling Fire Safety Thumbnail






















POP QUIZ!  Check your summer fire-prevention and safety knowledge. Can you answer these six questions correctly? Find the answers in the downloadable flyers or check your answers at the bottom of this posting.

  1. At least how many feet from shrubs, tents or other flammable materials should campfires be built? Always check with local authorities for burn restrictions before you start a fire. [See the 7/22/2020 burn restriction notice from SVFD.]
  2. Is it safe to use a grill on a porch or balcony?
  3. Should the lid of a gas barbecue be opened before igniting?
  4. Would it be smart to have your arms covered with long sleeves while tending to a grill?
  5. When providing first aid for a burn, is it recommended to place the injured area under cool water?
  6. TRUE or FALSE: If you are sleeping aboard a boat, it’s safe to operate a portable heater if it’s set to low.


BONUS QUESTION: You may not be an electrician, so how would you know how to inspect a boat’s wiring?

Thank you for giving these questions some thought. Most of these fire-safety tips are about squashing the fire risk before the fun even starts. For example, the 3’ safe zone / space left around a fire or barbeque is critical and makes tremendous difference. And, with boating, much of the fire risk is eliminated by making sure the electrical and cooling/exhaust systems are free from damage. Now, check your answers below to see how you did on the quiz.



  1. 25 feet. 2. No. Grills should not even be stored on a porch or balcony. 3. Yes, open the lid to prevent a possible explosion from flammable gas that may be collected under the lid. 4. Roll up any long sleeves to prevent clothing from catching fire. Long sleeves may discourage bug bites and sunburn but they can cause quick, painful and serious injury at the grill. 5. Yes, place the burned area under cool water for 3 to 5 minutes. If the burned area is larger than your palm, seek a doctor for medical care. 6. FALSE. Turn off all heaters when you are asleep or away from the boat to prevent fire. BONUS: Study the wires and determine if they are of good quality and are secured at both ends. Check that the wire coating is intact and no exposed wires are crossed. Or, take your boat to a mechanic for a safety inspection. Loose or damaged wires could cause a fire aboard the boat.



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.”