The Norfolk County Fire Department is teaming up with the National Fire Protection Association for Fire Prevention Week from October 8 to 14, 2023. 

This year’s theme is “Cooking Safety Starts with You! Pay Attention to Prevention.”  

Cooking-related fires are a leading cause of home fires in Norfolk County, with the department already responding to 32 such fires this year.   

“The primary cause of cooking fires is leaving a heat source unattended,” explained Norfolk County Fire Chief Gord Stilwell. “Exiting the kitchen while a pot heats up or going back in the house after starting the BBQ are all examples of unattended cooking fires caused in Norfolk this year. The department has also recorded dirty BBQs, burners, ovens, and items stored too close to the stovetop or BBQ as causes for calls in 2023.” 

The Norfolk County Fire Department encourages all residents to embrace the 2023 Fire Prevention Week theme and offers these essential safety tips to help reduce the risk of a cooking fire: 

  • Avoid distractions while cooking – televisions, phones, and computers can distract your attention from what is important. 
  • Keep children and pets away from any stove or BBQ – the surfaces are hot and can cause severe burns with only slight contact. 
  • Never store items close to a stove or BBQ – spice racks, containers, and cookbooks must be stored where they cannot get accidentally pushed onto cooktops. 
  • Never store items in your oven – ovens are frequently turned on ‘to heat up’ without anyone looking inside for silicone cutting boards or wooden platters. 
  • The bottom drawer of your oven is a warming tray, not a storage area – check your manufacturer’s instructions on safely using the oven’s bottom drawer. 
  • If it does not work right, stop using it – any heating devices that do not work need to be turned off, unplugged, and repaired or replaced.  

Members of Norfolk County Fire will be spreading these messages and more at the Norfolk County Fair from October 3 to 9, Friday the 13th in Port Dover, and Pumpkinfest in Waterford from October 13 to 15.  

For more fire safety tips, visit