Launched in 2009 by The American Kennel Club and ADT Security Services, National Pet Fire Safety Day recognizes the estimated 500,000 pets affected annually by fires in the home. Held annually on July 15, this day is set aside to increase awareness and educate pet owners about fire risks and preventative measures to ensure your pet’s safety. As veterinarians, we know your pets are valued members of your family and you want them included in your fire prevention planning, as well as escape and rescue efforts should the worst-case scenario happen. With that in mind, we’ve compiled helpful tips to ensure your pets are prioritized along with the rest of the family.
Fire Prevention Tips
Beware of Open Flames
Pets are naturally curious, and won’t hesitate to investigate candles or the fireplace, not understanding the consequences of getting too close. Never leave your pets unattended around open flames, and double check to ensure they’ve been fully extinguished before leaving the home with your pet inside.
Take some time to check your house thoroughly for any opportunities your pets might find to unknowingly start a fire—look at your home from their perspective.
Some ways to pet-proof your home to prevent fires are:
- Make sure your stovetop knobs aren’t reachable
- Cover any wires that your pets can reach
- Look for exposed wires, and try to hide lamp and electronics cords so your pets aren’t tempted to chew them while plugged in
Pet-proofing in this way is especially relevant if you have a puppy or kitten, as they are extra curious at this young age.
Train Cats to Stay Off Counters
With their incredible leaping ability, it’s normal for cats to jump onto counters and even the top of refrigerators from counters. However, while cooking, this can pose a significant hazard. Avoid allowing your cat near cooking equipment and hot stoves, which could lead to a fire if something is knocked over.
Escape Tips For Pets During a Fire
Keep Your Leash Near the Front Door
It’s a good idea to keep your dog’s leash near the front door so it can be quickly grabbed in the event of an evacuation. A fire is a chaotic and scary experience, and your dog might be tempted to run amid the commotion.
Take Note of Your Pet’s Hideaways
It’s common for pets to hide when they hear thunder or fireworks, so take note of where those hideaways are because they’re likely to run there when frightened by a fire. Knowing where to look for your pets can save valuable time.
Include Pets in Emergency Drills
Experts in this area recommend that you include your pets when practicing emergency escapes with the rest of the family. While it sounds unlikely, your pet might recognize the drill in a real-life scenario and follow the escape route with the rest of the family.
Rescue Tips For Pets During a Fire
Strategic Crate Placement
For crated or caged pets, leave them near the entrance of your home or front rooms where firefighters can quickly and easily locate and rescue them in the event of a fire.
Get a Pet Alert Window Cling
Firefighters are familiar with pet alert window clings, so prominently display one in a window near the front door. Most of them have space to list the number of pets inside the home, and this critical information can aid in saving all your pets. The ASPCA offers a Pet Safety Pack to make this process quick and easy for you.
Install Monitored Smoke Detectors
Monitored smoke detectors can offer early escape for your pets, with a monitoring center being alerted even if you’re not home. This will trigger immediate help and increase the likelihood of your pets being rescued before the fire spreads.
A fire is an extremely stressful experience, but following these tips in honor of National Pet Fire Safety can help ease the worry of your pets in case of emergency. Preparation and planning are the keys to ensuring your pets escape with the rest of you, or get successfully rescued. If you have any questions about how to keep your pets safe during a fire or any other emergency situation, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
The Drake Center for Veterinary Care is an AAHA-accredited animal hospital located in Encinitas, CA. The Drake Center loves being a source of information for all pet owners across the country however if you have any questions regarding pet care and do not live in Encinitas, CA or surrounding cities, we encourage you to contact your local veterinarian