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Jun 13, 2019

Spokane Valley Fire joins with metro area partners to receive helicopter hoist training for access to difficult areas where rescue options are needed. Flight Medic helicopter training.

The Spokane area Fire Department has trained 4 Paramedics to serve as flight medics on the Spokane Regional Air Support Unit’s (SRASU) Rescue 3 Helicopter. These members of the SRASU successfully completed a demanding hoist rescue certification course instructed by Advanced Rescue Systems (ARS).  During this course, all crew members (pilots, crew chiefs, and helicopters rescue medics) conducted approximately 75 practice rescue hoists each.  These training hoists were conducted in varying environments, from open fields to heavily treed mountain tops in challenging weather environments. A patient is "packaged" for transport.

In addition to this training, members of the agency had the privilege of training with members of the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office on hoist operations, both here in Spokane as well as in Snohomish County.  They also visited and consulted with the Air Force and Army National Guard aviation units. Other training completed included underwater helicopter egress training, Goodrich hoist maintenance certification, and wilderness survival. A few select members also attended the Airborne Public Safety Association’s Rescue Summit, held in Atlanta this spring.

Currently the SRASU is one of only fifteen agencies accredited through the Airborne Public Safety Association in law enforcement operations.  Future goals for the SRASU are to achieve accreditation on search and rescue/fire operations, as well as Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). The unit will also be striving to eventually incorporate night hoist operations at some point in the future. One last goal is the exploration of fire suppression through aerial water drops.

Sheriff's Rescue Helicopter.

The metro area regional strategy (Rescue 3) is staffed with personnel from the Spokane County Sherriff’s Office, Spokane Valley Fire Department, Kootenai County Sherriff’s Office, Coeur d’Alene Police Department and Spokane Police Department.

Rescue personnel are hoisted into the helicopter.Rescue 3 is equipped with a long line and hoist system for short haul rescue missions. The long line and hoist system allow our Tactical Flight Medics and Tactical Flight Officers to be lowered from Rescue 3 in order to retrieve a citizen that is either injured or lost in remote areas such as out of bound skiing or a lost hunter. The primary mission for Rescue 3 is search and rescue.

This new training is a great asset to the metro area for difficult to access areas.

To see this training in action, click here.

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.

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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.”