by Beth Bakke Stenehjem
Reprinted from ND Assistive, https://ndassistive.org/blog/atforstoves/.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, ranges or cooktops account for almost two-thirds of home cooking fire incidents, and unattended equipment is a factor in one-third of reported home cooking fires and half of associated deaths.
What should you do if you or your loved one leaves food on the stove unattended, which could be the cause of a house fire? First and foremost, the advice is to stay in the kitchen when you are cooking. But we have all had that random phone call or need to attend to something outside of the kitchen, which takes us away from what we are cooking. Sometimes we forget to turn off the stove when we are done cooking.
There are several devices available that can prevent that lapse of memory from turning into a tragedy.
These are thin plastic disks that attach behind the burner knobs to continually remind you that the burners or oven is on. They are pretty inexpensive compared to the other options below. The beeping alarm sounds at 3 minutes, 9 minutes, 15 minutes, and then every 15 minutes to alert you that the stove is still on. Burner Alert is available on Amazon.
This device plugs into the wall and then you plug your stove into the Fire Avert plug-in. There are two models, one for a three-prong plug-in and one for a four-prong plug-in. You then pair the device with your smoke detector, and it will shut off the stove when the smoke detector goes off. You can reset the device by flipping the breaker. There is not an app for a smartphone; this just works with the smoke detector in your home.
Wallflower Stove Monitor
This device is also a plug-in between your wall and the stove plug-in. There are also two models, one for a three-prong plug-in and one for a four-prong plug-in. You download the app for this on your smartphone, and it will tell you when the oven is turned on, if it has been left on, and can even monitor more than one stove. You need WiFi in the home for this to work.
Basically, this model is a motion sensor. There are two parts to the model. There is the plug-in that goes between the stove plug-in and the wall (compatible with 3- or 4-prong plug-ins) and the motion sensor sits on the back of the stove. This device defaults to 5 minutes, so if it doesn’t detect motion in front of the stove, it will beep and then shut off the stove. This time can be adjusted to anywhere from 30 seconds to 99 minutes.
There isn’t much info on this one, but I called the company and spoke with the inventor. Lee and his wife own and operate the company, and he told me all about the thought and study that went into this device. This device is another motion detector that will show a green light when the stove is off, a yellow light when the stove is on. If left unattended for 6 minutes, the device will blink red and will make a beeping sound like a microwave. After 8 minutes, the stove power shuts off automatically. All a person has to do to reset the stove is turn the knob off. This product only works on electric stoves.
This also uses a motion sensor and will contact loved ones remotely through an app on your smartphone. There are different models of the iGuard for a gas stove, a cooktop, and an electric stove with 3 or 4 prong plug-ins. This requires WiFi in your home. This device will shut off the stove if no motion is detected after 5 minutes. The motion detector will also show a caregiver through the app when the stove is turned on or off and when there is any motion in the kitchen. There is a great YouTube video describing the features; view it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iM20Stj1v_4&feature=emb_title.
These are a few of the safety devices for the prevention of cooking fires. If you have questions about these or other devices that could help someone who is experiencing forgetfulness and who wants to stay as independent as possible, please call North Dakota Assistive at 1-800-895-4728 and ask to speak with a consultant.