Stove fires caused by unattended cooking equipment are the no. 1 cause of house fires in Canada and can be especially dangerous to seniors that live alone. Seniors who live independently are more susceptible to stove-related accidents, and the injuries caused by such incidents can be long-lasting, and even life-threatening.
Therefore, it is essential to make stove safety a priority for every household. Installing stove safety features, buying a stove with built-in safety features, and taking other necessary precautions can all help mitigate the risk of fires and burns.
In this article, we will take a look at the essential safety features that you should consider when choosing a stove. We will also look at other necessary precautions that can further improve stove safety.
Essential Safety Features To Consider For Your Stove
Among the different types of stoves available in the market, gas stoves are often preferred over electric stoves due to their superior durability, responsiveness, and temperature control. Gas stoves can be a safety hazard, especially if they lack appropriate safety features to prevent accidents and fires. However, they don’t have to be. Here are some ways you can eliminate potential hazards associated with using kitchen stoves.
1. Durability & Construction
The first and most important thing you should look for in gas ranges or stoves is their build quality. They should have a durable construction and design that will withstand normal wear and tear. They should be functional and easy to install.
The stoves should also be made from high-quality materials that have high levels of strength, are non-toxic, and do not cause exposure to harmful elements. The cooking surface should also not break down when exposed to high heat. Similarly, every gas and electric oven should have child safety locks and locking mechanisms to prevent unintended access.
The knobs and handles should be heat-resistant so they don’t melt over time or burn the user unintentionally.
2. Automatic Shut-off and Timer Functions
The most important safety feature to look out for when buying a stove is the automatic shut-off function and timer feature. Almost all stoves have a timer feature but several stove manufacturers may not offer an automatic shut-off feature as standard.
The automatic shut-off feature is essential when it comes to eliminating the risk of potential kitchen fire resulting from forgetting to turn off the stove or leaving it unattended for a certain amount of time. This feature is extremely helpful for seniors living independently because it eliminates the risk of fires and also helps prevent food from burning or being overcooked.
Depending on the type of stove you choose these features can have certain limitations. Some stoves use sensors to detect whether the user is close by or have built-in smoke detectors that can automatically shut off the stove if it senses a fire.
It is also possible to have a gas cooktop or electric stove that does not have a built-in automatic shut-off feature. In such cases, the workaround is to use an automatic shutoff device. This plug-in device has a motion-sensing feature that starts the timer when the user leaves the kitchen and automatically turns off the stove after a set period if they don’t return.
For round-the-clock monitoring of your kitchen stove and peace of mind, you can learn more about this device at Northwood Intouch. Northwood Intouch provides plug-in solutions for many senior needs that keep them safe from incidents such as potential kitchen fires, medication management, and fall safety.
3. Overheating and Flame Failure Protection For Cooking Ranges
The latest stoves and cooking ranges come with overheating protection where the stove turns off when the temperature exceeds a certain range. The temperature regulation feature not only helps in keeping your food from getting burned but also prevents fires.
The flame failure protection cuts off the gas supply if the flame goes out and is an effective feature for people with cognitive conditions who can forgetfully leave the knob on. Gas leaks can also be very dangerous as they can cause suffocation and even a small spark can result in a massive explosion.
Thus, having an overheating and flame failure protection feature on your stove is essential to eliminating these potential risks.
4. Spill and Overflow Prevention Features
Spill detection sensors are becoming a common feature on newer stove models and are a great way to avoid potential stove fires from spreading. These stoves have raised edges and recessed cooktops that contain spills and allow for easy cleaning. These sensors shut off the stove and alert users, making them a must-have for anyone with declining cognitive function.
5. Induction & Convection Ranges - The Preferred Choice For Safety
An induction cooktop is an electrical cooktop that uses induction technology to provide precision cooking. These cooktops use magnetic fields to generate heat and they are extremely energy efficient. They can also help reduce the chances of burn injuries and fires due to their precise heating and temperature control.
On the other hand, convection ovens use fans to circulate heated air inside the oven for uniform heating. These require lesser cooking time and are more energy efficient than conventional ovens.
For seniors, it is recommended to choose between these two options when buying a new cooking range. These stoves are not only more energy efficient than conventional gas and electric stoves but also a lot safer and easier to use.
5. Additional Safety Considerations
Other safety precautions seniors and their family members can take include:
- Ensure enough ventilation passes through the range hood to eliminate the build-up of any excess heat and exhaust gases.
- Install carbon monoxide and smoke detectors to instantly alert seniors, caretakers, and other inhabitants of a potential fire threat.
- Routinely check and recharge the batteries for smoke detectors and sensors so they remain operational all the time.
- Any flammable objects or materials should be removed from the kitchen to prevent any unforeseen accidents.
- Fire extinguisher and/or fire blanket
Choosing a stove with the safety features mentioned above can reduce if not eliminate the chances of burns, spill injuries, and cooking fires in households. The above-mentioned stove safety features are also a must-have for seniors living independently as they can greatly assist in eliminating the risk of fires associated with day-to-day kitchen activities.
For more information regarding stove safety and senior care visit Northwood Intouch or call us at +1 (902) 492-3346.