Corp Comm Connects

Meet Vaughan's new fire chief
July 12, 2021

Andrew Zvanitajs, who has worked for the city since 1997, takes the helm at Vaughan Fire and Rescue Service

Hello to the people of Vaughan!

My name is Andrew Zvanitajs and I am the new Fire Chief for Vaughan Fire and Rescue Service (VFRS).

I started my career with the city in 1997, and in 2015, I was promoted to Deputy Fire Chief with VFRS.

In this role, I have been able to experience all aspects of the job, including operations, training, fire prevention, communications and the mechanical division.

I am excited to be taking on this new role to help keep the community safe.

Summer is one of my favourite times of the year, and being outside to enjoy the sun and warm weather is great.

However, these conditions also make the weather unpredictable. Thunderstorms can bring heavy rainfall, hail and sometimes power outages.

To make sure everyone is safe, here are some important tips to keep in mind before, during and after a storm:

When you know a storm is coming, ensure all hard-wired smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms have working backup batteries.

Also, check that there are no cords left under rugs or carpets that may heat up or have damage go unnoticed. This includes vacuum or dust coils and wires around your refrigerator, computer and phone lines.

Finally, always plan and practise your home escape plan before emergencies happen. Everyone should know how to get out immediately if there is a fire.

When a storm hits, turn off all tools, appliances and electronic equipment, such as stoves, microwaves and toasters and turn the thermostat(s) for your home heating system down to a low setting to prevent damage from a power surge when it is restored.

Do not use a power generator indoors or in a wet environment. CO gas is odourless, invisible and extremely toxic, and it can be produced from a generator.

Make sure you use a flashlight for emergency lighting and avoid using candles.

Once the storm passes, you should turn on the main electric switch, but check beforehand to ensure all household appliances and electronics are unplugged to prevent damage from a power surge.

You should also turn the heating system thermostats up first; then, after a few minutes, reconnect your refrigerator and freezer. It is important to give the electrical system time to stabilize before reconnecting other tools and appliances.

If you have any concerns, be sure to have a licensed electrician check for damage.

Stay safe while having fun this summer!