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  • This Thanksgiving pay attention to fire prevention

    Created: Thursday, October 05, 2023

    Central York Fire Services (CYFS) is teaming up with the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) for Fire Prevention Week this October 8 to 14. As many prepare family feasts this Thanksgiving, the campaign's theme of "Cooking safety starts with YOU. Pay attention to fire prevention," reminds everyone about simple but important actions they can take when cooking to keep themselves and those around them safe. 

    Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries in Canada. "Year after year, cooking remains the leading cause of home fires by far," said Lorraine Carli, vice president of outreach and advocacy at NFPA. "This tell us that there is still much work to do when it comes to educating the public about ways to stay safe when cooking."

    Locally in Aurora and Newmarket, cooking related calls accounts for nearly half of all fire related incidents Central York Fire Services responds to and the issue is growing. In the past five-year period (2018 to 2022) cooking related calls accounted for 44% of all fire related incidents; yet, for 2023 cooking accounts for 48% of all incidents with three months left in the year.  

    "Cooking fires can grow quickly, which is why its extra important to 'watch what you heat' this season during festive get togethers when the stove and oven are full of delicious dishes and distraction is high," says CYFS Fire Chief Ian Laing. "Cooking safety starts with you and by following safe cooking practices you can help ensure your gathering is memorable, for the right reasons."

    CYFS reminds cooks to keep these safety tips in mind:

    • Watch what you heat. Always keep a close eye on what you are cooking. Set a timer to remind you that you are cooking.

    • Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove. Always keep a lid nearby when cooking. If a small grease fire starts, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner. Never pour water onto a grease fire.

    • Have a "kid and pet free zone" of at least 1 metre around the stove or grill and anywhere else hot food or drink is prepared or carried.

    • If there is a fire in the oven or microwave: close the door, turn the power off, and open doors and windows to ventilate.
    Always remember, if you are in danger at any time, alert others in the home while evacuating, exit the home, and go to your meeting place. Call 9-1-1 from a safe location.

    CYFS would like to thank everyone that came out to celebrate the very successful Open House that took place on September 23. More than 5,000 residents were in attendance to learn about fire safety and meet some of our firefighters. We would also like to thank everyone who donated to the Hawkins-Gignac Foundation. Together, we were able to raise $1,232 to go towards Carbon Monoxide education.

    For more safety tips, visit For more general information about Fire Prevention Week and cooking safety, visit For fire safety fun for kids, visit