July 15 is recognized as National Pet Fire Safety day in the United States. It is a day set aside to raise awareness about house fires and educate homeowners on keeping their pets safe. The American Kennel Club and ADT Security designated this day in 2008 and both hold special events and publish materials designed to help pet owners.
According to National Fire Protection Association over 500,000 pets are affected by house fires each year. And more concerning, over 1,000 fires are actually started by pets!
As a pet owner, one of your responsibilities is to safeguard not only your pet but also your home in order to keep them safe and secure. You never know when a fire may start, you may be home and able to get yourself and your pet out of the house quickly, but you may not be home and you need to ensure you have measures in place to protect and safeguard your pets. You must plan for unanticipated emergencies.
We’ve gathered tips from ADT Security, the AKC and other sources to give you some ideas of steps you should take.
Keeping your pet safe:
- Keep collars and tags on your pets at all times. Keep their leashes near the front door to facilitate a quick exit.
- When you are away from home, keep your dogs in a room close to an exit so firefighters can get to them quickly.
- Secure adolescent pets in crates or pet-proofed rooms to keep the out of harm’s way.
- Consider smoke detectors connected to a monitoring system that automatically alerts the fire department.
- Invest in a carbon monoxide monitoring system.
- Remove glass water bowls from wooden decks. They can act as a magnifying glass and start a fire.
- Have some type of emergency “go-bag” for your pet that contains their meds, food, identification information, etc. Keep it close to the exit.
Keeping your pet from starting a fire:
- Extinguish all open flames, burners, ovens, etc. when you go out. Consider flameless candles.
- Remove stove knobs (These are the number 1 piece of equipment involved in pet related fires).
- Secure your fireplace, space heaters and electric cords.
A key step in keeping your pet safe is alerting the fire department and first responders that there are pets in the home. Obtain a pet alert decal and affix it to a prominent window in your home to alert firefighters in identifying the number and location of your pets. Be sure that the decal has your pets name and your phone number. The ASPCA offers free window decals here.
All families should have a fire evacuation plan and should practice fire drills regularly. Be sure to include your pets in that “””plan.