July 15 is National Pet Fire Safety Day
Fire prevention is very important, and according to the National Fire Protection Association, about 1,000 house fires per year are started by pets.
Here’s how to make your house “fire safe” and include your dog(s) in evacuation plans.
Preventing Pet Related Fires
- Keep all open flames out of reach and never leave a candle burning unsupervised, especially near a pet. Dogs can easily knock them over while playing or with a simple wag of their tails.
- Place flammable liquids and cleaners in protected cabinets. Besides being fire hazards, these compounds are often toxic if swallowed.
- In cold months, monitor access to lit fireplaces. While most dogs won’t approach a hot fire, they can place flammable materials close to a fire. Imagine your dog scooting the hearth rug just a little too close.
- Keep electrical cords out of reach of your dog. If your dog chews a cord, he can suffer electrical burns or even be electrocuted.
- Nibbling pets can remove protective insulation from electrical wires, and any resulting sparks can start a house fire.
Pet Evacuation Plans in the Event of a Fire
Fire safety experts say that the main reason dogs perish in home fires is that they are confined to crates and cannot escape. To avoid this disaster, include your dog in your evacuation plan, and practice the plan at least twice a year.
- Teach all family members the safest way to get out of the home in case of fire. Set a standard escape route plus a back-up route if the original path is blocked by flames.
- Be sure to have an outside meeting place that is a safe distance from your home where everyone should meet.
- Keep an evacuation kit handy so you can grab it without losing precious seconds searching for it.
- Have a leash close to the crate or dog bed to help you guide your dog to safety and to restrain him in case he becomes overly distraught in the commotion.
- Fire professionals will urge you to never go back inside a burning building for a family member or a pet. In the event of a fire, it is important to get out and stay out. Call the fire department as soon as you get outside.
In the event you cannot escape with your dog or if you’re not at home when the blaze starts, take precautions to aid in your dog’s rescue. Place decals on windows all around the house identifying how many and what kind of pets are located inside. You can get these stickers from your local fire department or the ASPCA.
In the confusion of evacuation and the flurry of fighting a fire, your dog may get lost. Identification is key to his safe return, so make sure he has a microchip.
- After the fire, assess your dog’s condition.
- If your dog smells like smoke, he likely inhaled some as well. Even if he looks normal, take him to your veterinarian for examination and observation.
- If your dog is having breathing difficulties, ask emergency workers to provide oxygen support.
Once your family survives the fire, you have to manage the tragedy. This is where the disaster kit comes in. In addition to important household documents, include your dog’s medical records, proof of vaccination, medication, and veterinarian’s contact information. This information will allow hassle-free boarding in case you can’t take your dog with you to an emergency shelter or hotel.
Losing your home to a fire is devastating. Losing your pet makes a sad situation even sadder. Take a few precautions to protect your entire family in case of fire.