House Fires and Pets
Statistics alone make a pet fire safety plan an important priority. Pets are responsible for hundreds of house fires each year, but more than 50,000 pets annually are threatened by an inferno at home. House fires and pets are not joke. It’s urgent that we all spend a little extra time this summer acknowledging fire risks, designing a pet fire safety plan, and understanding the in’s and out’s of evacuating your home.
Request a safety pack from the ASPCA. Rescue workers know to look for these on doors and windows and can quickly get to work looking for your pet. There are other pointers on the website for ASPCA Disaster Preparedness.
Importance of Crate Training
If your pet already has his or her own “place of refuge” in the form of a crate or kennel, you’re ahead of the game. Position the crate near an exit so you can find the crate and escort your pet to safety.
Nearby, have an emergency or backup stash of your dog’s collars, leashes, treats, toys, and food ready to go for when you need to dash.
We All Need Protection
Imagine coming home to a disastrous blaze. What are the necessary steps to not only finding your pet, but also to getting him or her out of the house safely? Most people don’t want to prepare for something like this, but knowing how to handle this situation could save your pet’s life.
Animals can become entrapped, threatened by smoke inhalation, or simply be too afraid, anxious, or disoriented to find a way out of a house that’s on fire.
Your Pet’s Hideouts
To create a truly effective pet fire safety plan, scope out your house for places where you think your pet would likely hide. Are there places your pet could burrow behind, like the back of the fridge or in a corner in the utility room? Knowing where to look will help enormously in case of a fire evacuation.
Once you have an idea of hideouts, practice finding your pet, scooping him or her up in a simulated state of frenzy, and evacuating your home. The more you do this, the better.
Pet Fire Safety Tips
For a more complete pet fire safety plan, shoot for any of these recommendations:
- Identify at least two exits in your house.
- If you’re forced out of your house before your pet has been found, make sure a door or window is left open. Call your pet’s name repeatedly (you’ll be glad for all that extra training you did!).
- Regardless of when you leave home, encourage your pet to remain inside his or her crate. Establish that the best place for the crate is near an exit.
- Never leave your pet alone with open flames.
- Have your own fire extinguisher.
- Train your pet to ignore the stove top (some pet owners remove stove knobs before leaving), and do not allow your pet to play in the kitchen.
- Electrical wires and power cords should never be left on the ground for your pet to chew on.
- Protect your pet from the fireplace or space heater.
- Ask friends or family members in advance if your pet could stay with them if a fire engulfs your home. Research local pet-friendly hotels as well.