National Pet Fire Safety Day takes place on July 15th , and it’s a day to learn how to keep your pet safe in a fire. For many of us, our pets are the most precious asset. So it makes sense that we would dedicate a day to keeping them safe during one of the scariest things we can imagine. The National Pet Fire Safety Day was started by The American Kennel Club and ADT Security Services to reduce the estimated 500,000 pets that are affected by home fires each year. The purpose of this day is to educate pet owners about potential risks when pets are left home alone and to provide owners with proven prevention measures to ensure their safety. According to a recent AKC study, 88 % of pet owners consider their pets to be valued family members as such they need to be include in fire prevention plans and rescue alerts should a house fire strike. Here are some simple tips to protect your home and your loved one from accidental fire:
Tips to Keep Pets Safe from House Fires:
• 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 knob- Be sure to remove stove knobs or protect them with covers before leaving the house.
• Invest in flame less candles – These candles contain a light bulb, rather than an open flame, and take the danger out of your pet knocking over a candle.
• Avoid glass water bowls on wooden decks – The sun’s rays when filtered through glass water bowls can heat up and ignite the wooden deck. Choose stainless steel or ceramic bowls instead.
• Keep pets near entrances when you're out – 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- Especially with young puppies or kittens, 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.
• Pet Proof the Home – Take a walk around your home and look for areas where pets might start fires inadvertently, such as the stove knobs, loose wires and other potential hazards. Electrical cords can sometimes be chewed by pets and when damaged, they can spark and cause electrocution or a fire.
• Practicing Escape Routes with Pets – Keep collars and leashes at the ready in case you have to evacuate quickly with your pet or firefighters need to rescue your pet.
• Since Pets Left Alone Can’t Escape a Burning Home – Use monitored smoke detectors which are connected to a monitoring center, providing an added layer of protection beyond battery-operated smoke alarms. This allows emergency responders to be contacted when your pets are trapped.
• Affix a Pet Alert Window Cling – Write down the number of pets inside your house and attach the static cling or sticker to a front window. This critical information saves rescuers time when locating your pets. During this month we will have some of these available at Elko Veterinary Clinic. Inquire at the front desk about getting one for your home.
• Keep Your Information Updated – Firefighters are familiar with pet alert window clings so keep the number of pets listed on them updated. Knowing the accurate number of pets in the house aids rescuers in finding all of your pets.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly 1,000 house fires each year are accidentally started by pets. Pets can unintentionally get into all kinds of trouble when we are not home to supervise. At Elko Veterinary Clinic, we know how much our pets mean to us and we have seen the devastation of fires first hand. The most important tip that we can give you is to have a fire plan that includes your pets. Discuss with your family who will be in charge of rescuing your pet in the event of a fire. Planning and practicing drills will help the family remain calm and help ensure that your pets are not forgotten during a chaotic evacuation. As owners we have to be responsible and try to keep our pets out of trouble and prevent house fires.
Tessa Morgan, DVM