National Pet Fire Safety Day is July 15th. According to the National Fire Protection Association, 500,000 pets are affected by house fires each year, with 1,000 house fires started by pets themselves. Whether the fire is caused by an appliance, outlet, or your pet, the following tips may help prevent your pets from causing a fire and keep them safe during and after a fire.
PREVENT YOUR PET FROM STARTING A FIRE
Supervise Open Flames
Candles, fireplaces, and stovetops are among the most common sources of home fires. Pets may knock over a candle or pan on the stove, setting the stage for the flames to jump to a flammable agent such as curtains. If you leave home, make sure to extinguish all flames.
Fire-Proof Your Home
Cats often chew on loose wires, which poses not only a fire hazard to your pet but also an electrical one. Hide all wires and secure all lamps, which can be knocked over by a climbing cat or running dog. Attach covers on stove knobs so they can’t be turned on accidentally by your dog or cat.
MAKE A FIRE-PREPAREDNESS PLAN
Install Smoke Detectors
It’s also important to check smoke detectors regularly to ensure they’re in good working order.
Create a Pet Alert Window Sticker
On a piece of static cling or sticker, write down the number of pets you have (as well as your phone number) and affix it to a window on the front of the house. In the event you’re not home when a fire breaks out, this critical information helps firefighters save time when locating your pets. Make sure to keep it updated. On July 15th, free stickers are available at local volunteer firehouses and from the ASPCA.
Keep Pets Near Entrances
When you’re not home, keep your pets confined to a space that is near an entry/exit point, which will greatly increase the chances of them being rescued. Keep their leashes near the door—if you’re home when a fire breaks out, you will be able to lead them out safely. Rescuers may also be able to grab the leashes and use them to help keep your pets from running away once outside.
Create a Plan and Practice It
Creating a fire safety plan is critical in case a fire breaks out while you are home. Identify exit points for every room of the house. Make sure all members of the household have practiced safely evacuating your pet. Plan a rendezvous point in case of separation.
Microchip Your Pet
In case your panicked animal runs away from your home, rescuers, or you during the chaos of a fire, chances of having them returned to you are greatly increased if your pet is microchipped.