According to the United States Fire Administration, an estimated half million pets are affected annually by fires. With July 15th recognized as National Pet Fire Safety Day, The Red Cross has identified several ways to help you and your pet stay safe.
Develop a Plan for your Pet
“Including your pet in your family disaster plan is a key part of protecting your 4-footed family members from the effects of a fire,” says Beth Kilchenman, Executive Director for the Medina County Chapter of The Red Cross. “Here are 6 things you can do to integrate your pet into your disaster plan:
- Determine which family member will be responsible for each pet.
- Know where your pets hide, as this may be the first place they go if there is a fire.
- Plan to bring your pet’s carrier when you evacuate the house. It can be a safe and comforting place for your pet to be, especially when the fire truck arrives.
- Put a Pet Alert window sticker on a door or window near the front with the number of pets you have in the house. You can find these at pet stores or shelters. It will help the rescue team know to look for your pets.
- If you have to leave your home and go to a shelter, you will most likely not be able to bring your pets with you. Ask someone in your family or a friend in advance if they would be willing to keep your pets for you in case of an emergency.
- Practice, practice, practice. It may seem silly, but running through the plan will help everyone feel more comfortable about what they need to do and will identify issues that are not clear or have not been well planned yet.”
Prevent Your Pet from Starting Fires
Pets can be the victims of a fire, but they can also be an unintentional cause. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that nearly 1,000 house fires each year are accidentally started by homeowners’ pets.
The American Kennel Club and ADT Security Services have joined forces to provide the following tips.
- Extinguish open flames – Pets are generally curious and will investigate cooking appliances, candles, or even a fire in your fireplace. Ensure your pet is not left unattended around an open flame and make sure to thoroughly extinguish any open flame before leaving your home.
- Remove stove knobs – Be sure to remove stove knobs or protect them with covers before leaving the house – a stove or cook top is the number one piece of equipment involved in your pet starting a fire.
- Invest in flameless candles – These candles contain a light bulb rather than an open flame, and take the danger out of your pet knocking over a candle. Cats are known for starting fires when their tails turn over lit candles.
- Keep pets near entrances when away from home – Keep collars on pets and leashes at the ready in case firefighters need to rescue your pet. When leaving pets home alone, keep them in areas or rooms near entrances where firefighters can easily find them.
- Secure young pets – Keep them confined away from potential fire-starting hazards when you are away from home such as in crates or behind baby gates in secure areas.
- Use a Pet Alert window cling – Write down the number of pets inside your house and attach the static cling to a front window. This critical information saves rescuers time when locating your pets. Make sure to keep the number of pets listed on them updated.
“It only takes a little bit of time to include your pets into your home evacuation plans and to minimize the fire hazards in your home,” notes Beth, “but the reward of keeping your family members safe, including the small furry ones, is priceless.”
– Article courtesy of http://www.bil-jac.com/fire_safety_tips.php