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Jan 9, 2020

The Spokane Valley Fire Department, other area wide agencies, and First Responders nationally are all experiencing an increase in calls for service for older adult falls.  Older adult falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations and deaths in Spokane County.  Falls-related Emergency Medical Service calls are the leading non-fire response related calls in Spokane County.

Over the last decade, older adult fall-related hospitalizations have increased by 30% nationwide. There is an estimated 50 billion dollars spent annually on medical expenses associated with older adult falls in the United States. The leading factor for being at risk of a fall is having experienced a fall, especially with an injury.

Being able to provide resources for falls prevention education and programs to those at highest risk for future falls often proves difficult.  As fire department and EMS staff are considered to be trusted sources of health-related information, providing an informational Falls Matter flyer for in-person distribution is an ideal method for increasing public awareness.

Flyer, "Falls Matter"


The goal of the program is to decrease the percentage of repeat falls-related EMS calls in the service areas of both City of Spokane and Spokane Valley Fire Departments.  Data from both City of Spokane and Spokane Valley Fire Departments has been evaluated by their respective Community Risk Reduction representatives confirming the volume of falls-related, non-fire calls.  Both departments have identified their high-volume areas and stations that will participate in the pilot program.

The pilot program will run for three consecutive months, running from January 1, 2020, through March 31, 2020.  The pilot will address older adult, fall calls with and without ambulance transport.  The pilot will address older adult, fall calls with and without reported injuries.  Because the Older Americans Act funding sets the minimum age at 60, the pilot will include older adults aged 60 and above.  The pilot audience will be English speaking and include those adults that are cognitively intact and currently living in a residential setting.

Upon completion of the pilot program, the data will be evaluated and a determination made about any revisions to the flyer and data collection points; additional distribution methods will also be discussed.  A further determination will decide whether an additional pilot is required, whether a program roll-out is appropriate, or whether a new approach is deemed necessary.


Data collection will include:

  • Count of flyers distributed
  • Count of fall incidents
  • Count of repeat fall incident callers
  • Count of calls and website visits made to SRHD and ALTCEW

For more information on this pilot program call 509.928.1700 and ask to speak with a Community Risk Reduction Manager.


Documents on the Pilot Program can be read by clicking on the following titles:

Falls Subcommittee Executive Summary, November 2019

Falls Matter Crew Information Flyer

Did you Know?


  • You can sign up for a station tour. Great for small groups.
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  • 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.”