Vaughan Fire and Rescue Service with McDonalds at the GO Station
Celebrating Public Safety Partners

Every year the Ontario Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council holds the Fire Safety Awards. This special event recognizes individuals and organizations that have partnered with fire and emergency service to make outstanding contributions to fire protection and prevention in Ontario. This year four organizations were celebrated for their work with Vaughan Fire and Rescue Service (VFRS).

Tommy Douglas Secondary School

After a 2016 coroner’s inquest into the fire deaths of three young adults in Durham Region, Tommy Douglas Secondary School partnered with VFRS to develop a video about fire safety, targeted to reach young adults. Twelve students and three teacher assistants took part in the video that was written and produced by the school. VFRS assisted in the production of the video by providing feedback, firefighter bunker gear, fire trucks and a fire station.

The video is based on a teen house party and teaches viewers how to prevent fire hazards such as overloading an electrical outlet and heating a pizza box in the oven. By teaching others in the house about these hazards, the lead character helps his friends escape the home.

“Tommy Douglas Secondary School has brought a new awareness about fire safety to their students,” said Ross Nichols, Chair of the Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council. “Thanks to their creativity and hard work, this innovative fire safety video can educate other students throughout the York Region District School Board and many others across the province.”


On Valentine’s Day in February 2017, METROLINX, Safety and Security partnered with VFRS for a new public safety event called “Candle with Care.” It involved firefighters interacting with more than 3,000 morning commuters at the Maple GO station to promote candle safety, provide fire safety tips, and talk about the importance of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and fire escape planning. Commuters also received free chocolate Hershey Kisses and LED candles for their romantic evening dinners.

GO Station commuters with candles and Hershey's kisses

During the event, VFRS used METROLINX’s public address system to communicate messages throughout the passenger loading area. The event was broadcast live by a local morning television program.

“It can be difficult for busy commuters to make home safety a priority,” said Ross Nichols, Chair of the Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council. “Through a long-standing partnership, METROLINX, Safety and Security has generously provided Vaughan Fire and Rescue Service with a literal platform to reach and teach a diverse group of commuters about home fire safety, at a time and place that works for them.”

Metrolinx award winners

McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada

McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited was another partner that played a big role in “Candle with Care” on Valentine’s Day in February 2017. As part of this event, McDonald’s set-up a mobile unit and served free McCafe coffee to help people stay warm and be more receptive to fire safety conversations with the firefighters.

Vaughan Fire and Rescue Service with McDonalds at the GO Station

In March 2017, McDonald’s hosted “Coffee with a Firefighter” at their 3140 Rutherford Rd. location. For this event, McDonald’s provided free McCafe coffee to customers and set up a table where customers could meet and talk to firefighters about fire safety. More of these events are planned for the future.

Vaughan Fire and Rescue Service at McDonalds

“The partnership with McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited has helped to educate community residents of all ages about fire safety in a fun and interactive way,” said Ross Nichols, Chair of the Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council. “Through their support, McDonald’s is helping residents make smart choices about their own safety.”

McDonalds award winners

In 2016, partnered with Vaughan Fire Rescue Service (VFRS) to educate the public about fire safety. Deputy Fire Chief Deryn Rizzi was interview on several broadcasts to educate the public about important and often overlooked safety hazards:

  • After a house fire in Vaughan was found to have been started in a flower pot, reported on the hazards of spontaneous ignition associated with discarding cigarettes in pots of dried flowers.
  • One segment focused on dryer fires and encouraged homeowners to clean their filters and vents to keep them fire safe.
  • Another story was geared to students heading back to school, advising them of the fire hazards associated with overloading power bars and how to use candles safely. also published an online article about the “6 little known fire hazards around the home.” It talked about the fire hazards associated with dusty dryers, outdoor smoking, chimineas/outdoor fireplaces, smoke alarm mistakes, massage oils and barbeque.

“ has helped reinforce key fire safety messages, while also bringing attention to lesser known hazards,” said Ross Nichols, Chair of the Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council. “ has made a valuable contribution to the community in educating residents about to prevent fires from occurring.”

CTV News award winners

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