Monday, July 13, 2020

It’s been a little over a year and a half since Teaneck native Jordan Zaretsky assumed the role of chief of the Teaneck Fire Department. Working alongside the many dedicated men and women under his supervision, he has worked with local schools, given presentations and even organized community events, such as last week’s side-by-side burn demonstration that took place in Votee Park during the Teaneck Police’s National Night Out. Zaretsky described his time so far as chief as a “breaking of the mold” in terms of embracing progressiveness.

In September it will have been 25 years since Zaretsky first began working as a firefighter. Graduating from Montclair University with a master’s degree in business administration and management, he originally planned to become a doctor, but soon shifted gears. Speaking with The Jewish Link, Zaretsky elaborated on his time with the Teaneck Fire Department and his professional journey.

“When I first decided to become a fireman it was a little bit on a whim and I ended up just falling in love with it,” Zaretsky shared. “I had some really great mentors that worked with me and really helped me grow and get to the place where I needed to be. In 2017 I was a deputy chief and got a call that there was an opening for chief. I started off as a provisional chief and then, after a few months, I was given the full rank and that’s where we are today.”

It was in January of 2018 that Zaretsky took on the role of Teaneck’s fire department chief. In the time since, he has embraced change and allowed the use of new systems and technologies for growth. As he sees it, it is necessary to break from tradition to enable a better service.

“One of the aspects of the fire department that I hope to address is progressiveness,” Zaretsky continued. “I want my time as chief to be about breaking the mold and moving away from tradition for a more modern take. I’ve heard so many times people saying, ‘well, this is just how we’ve done it in the past.’ That’s not going to be acceptable for me. The fire department will strive to grow and embrace different forms of fire safety that will enable us to continue to serve our community as best we can. If we want to keep our fellow citizens safe, that means embracing change and letting go of the old ways.”

In addition to his work with the department, Zaretsky is also a college professor at New Jersey City University. He has attended seminars and worked closely with community members to keep his department in line with current affairs and local happenings. Still, change continues to be one of his topmost priorities.

“Efficiency is key with our fire department,” Zaretsky added. “The 21st century hazards that we face are different from those of the past. I am supported by a lot of people and a great team that continues to have the best interest of our community at heart. As a result we have a broad basis for how progressive change should be handled. I would describe myself as a communicator; everyone at the table has a voice in the discussion about how things are handled. It’s that facet of my time as chief that I hope people will know my service for.”

If you would like to learn more about the Teaneck Fire Department, visit https://www.teanecknj.gov/fire. Additionally, to get in touch with Chief Zaretsky, send an email through https://www.teanecknj.gov/email-fire-chief.

In the event of an emergency, dial 911.

By Adam Samuel

Adam Samuel is a journalist from Teaneck. He blogs at adamssoapbox.com.