Pet Fire Safety Prevention and Planning
According to the American Fire Administration, house fires affect approximately 500,000 pets each year. Many, many of those fires are avoidable. There are proactive things you can do to make sure your home isn’t one of them. Run Those Dogs has put together this post to inspire you to take small steps to protect your pets from the risks of house fires. Take a look at the list below to see what you can do be safe and prepared at home.
Open Flames—You have probably thought of many simple things you can do to prevent a fire in your home. Don’t leave open flames on candles or candle warmers unattended. But have you thought about where you place them? Keep them away from curtains or other flammable furniture and make sure your pets can’t walk across them. Pets are curious and some are not afraid to investigate too closely. Make sure they’re used where you can see them and they can’t be toppled accidentally by a playful mutt. The same level of caution can be applied to halogen lamps and space heaters.
Dangling, Chewed or Damaged Cords—A dangling cord can be so tempting to a playful pet. Use zip or bread ties to bundle cords or enclose them in conduit. Repair or dispose of chewed or damaged cords to ensure they’ll have no chance of electrocuting your furry friend or sparking a fire.
Glass on Wood—This one never occurred to us. Thank you American Humane for the suggestion. Sort of how a magnifying glass can concentrate the sun, avoid a glass bowl on a wood or other flammable surface. It’s a long-shot, but its also one of the easiest steps to take to avoid a fire at home.
Detectors & Battery Checks—Ensure that your home has enough functional smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and check that they are working at least twice a year. Most have a loud low battery signal that you can’t miss, but check anyway. Choose the same days every year, such as your pet’s birthday, so you won’t forget.
Prepare in Case of Fire
Make an Emergency Plan—Public buildings have lighted exit signs and post maps for humans to use in case of an emergency. But most of us don’t have a home fire emergency plan. Make one and be sure to include your pets in the planning.
Post Stickers—You’ve seen the stickers in windows of homes. Let fire fighters know how many and what type of pets live in your home by placing stickers in obvious locations near the front of your home. Some fire stations give these stickers away for free or they can be purchased online.
ID your Pet—We’ve written before about the importance of tagging and microchipping your pet. Investing a little time and effort now can help ensure your pet is returned to you safely if they are scared off by the noise and danger of a house fire. Even a small fire that is out in seconds could cause them to flee. Watch for discount days at your local humane society to save.
Be Ready to Bolt—Keep leashes, carriers and treats in an easily accessible place near an exit so that if you must evacuate, you can go quickly and safely. You may also want to think in advance about the places your pets choose to hide when scared so you can look there first.
What to Do if a Fire Starts
In the case of a fire, always be sure that YOU have a safe escape before trying to rescue others. Your pet needs you as do your family and friends. Alert responders immediately so that they’ll arrive to help as soon as possible.
If you don’t find your pets quickly, grab leashes and carriers and get out, letting fire fighters search for your pets. If you must leave without your pets, leave doors open and call them to you from a safe distance.
We hope that by investing just a little thought and time, you and your pet family will avoid a fire in your home and be prepared if one starts. Once you’ve ensured you’re safe from fires, consider a preparedness plan that accounts for other emergencies and natural disasters. You’ll sleep better at night, perhaps with your pet by your side, knowing that you’ve been proactive and prepared for these emergencies.