We’ve all been told to have a fire safety plan in place for our families, but have you remembered to include your pets in those plans? Today is National Pet Fire Safety Day, and it’s a great time to ensure you have fire prevention tactics in place.
Around 40,000 pets are killed during residential fires each year and half a million are impacted by such fires, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association in 2018. And the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that pets and wild animals contribute to more than 700 home fires on an annual basis.
No pet owner wants their animals to be part of these statistics. Fortunately, many of these incidents can be prevented by just following a few basic—but easily forgotten—rules.
Exposure to flames
You wouldn’t leave your child unattended around open flame, and you shouldn’t put an animal in such a scenario either. Keep pets away from cooking equipment, fireplaces, and candles. Between 2014-2018, an average of 21 reported residential fires a day were started by candles, according to the NFPA.
Pet areas in the home
When you leave the house, try to keep your pets contained in areas that are close to entrances so that firefighters can have an easier time locating them. It’s also not a bad idea to have a window sticker on the front of your house that lists the number and types of pets you have so first responders know what to expect.
Secure electrical wiring. Pets, especially young ones, could easily see wires as ideal chew toys. Pulling on and biting these electrical cords can lead to falling devices, electrocution, and fires.
If your pet isn’t contained when you’re not home, or if you have a dog or cat who can get near or even on your stove, it’s a great idea to have knob covers. These can help prevent pets from accidentally turning on the stove or oven. You might think this is an unlikely problem, but stoves are actually a major cause of pet-related fires.
Disaster prep and safety plans
When making disaster preparedness kits, don’t forget to keep pet-related items too. You can check out our post here to get more information on what to include in a kit like this.
Always include your pets in your fire escape plans. Make sure you already have a set place where you can take them if your home becomes inhabitable due to a fire or other incident. Shelters open to victims of fires often don’t take pets.
Escaping a home fire
When escaping your home during a fire, grab a leash or carrier to help secure your pet once outdoors—if you’re able to do so very quickly. Things will be chaotic during an emergency situation and there will be strangers in and out of your home. Your pets may be tempted to run off, so securing them with you is certainly advised.
However, it’s not worth risking anyone’s life to grab a leash! This is yet another reason why it’s so important to keep an ID tag and contact information on your pets’ collars.
If you’re unable to get to your pets when evacuating, leave a door open and call for them. They may run out to you. Otherwise, notify firefighters that your pets are still inside when they arrive.
Accidents happen, but taking precautionary measures and developing safety plans can help you–and your pets–handle emergency situations more effectively.
Disclaimer: The contents of the Lazy Days Pet Sitting Service website and blog are for informational purposes only. None of the material is intended to serve as professional veterinary advice. The provided information cannot be used to diagnose or treat pet health issues.