Cat in front of fireplace

FIRE SAFETY PRECAUTIONS & YOUR PET

07/07/17

As pet owners, we’ll do anything to keep our precious fur babies safe. That commitment is why Pet Fire Safety Day exists. The day is intended to serve as a reminder to educate yourself about the potential fire risks in and around your home.  

While some precautions may seem obvious, like never leaving pets unattended around an open flame, it doesn’t hurt to brush up on the basics and start thinking about your family’s fire safety plan. 

A good fire safety strategy is made up of three components: Prevention, Planning, and Practice.

Prevention

  • Both cats and dogs have been known to hop onto stovetops and accidentally flip stove knobs. To minimize the risk, cover the knobs or remove them completely if you’re able.
  • Electrical wires are not safe chew toys! Despite having a plethora of toys, some pets just can’t resist the allure of loose wire. Cats are often considered the likely culprits, but dogs can be just as guilty of doing this. Pet-proof your home to save your pet from suffering an unfortunate accident. Keep cables out of sight, clean up messy cords, and secure lamps and other appliances that have tempting wires.
  • A house fire can be a terrifying experience for both humans and animals. If a fire breaks out in the main house, your pooch may retreat to his own dog house in the backyard for safety. That’s why these shelters should be set up away from the family home. Choose a location that isn’t close to bushes, trees, and other flammable vegetation. The area around the house should also be clear of debris.
  • Candles make beautiful backyard decorations during those summer nights, but can be easily tipped over with a wag of your pet’s tail. Battery-operated flameless candles are a safer alternative. They come in a variety of styles and some even flicker to simulate the flame of a real wax candle. They’re also good to have on hand during a power outage. They may not give off a pleasant scent, but they also won’t start a fire if a clumsy pet knocks it to the floor.
  • When you want to help your pet beat the heat, it’s nice to leave a bowl of water out on the deck for them. But did you know that glass bowls can pose a fire risk? The heat from the sun’s rays can cause the wooden deck beneath to ignite. Instead, use ceramic or stainless steel bowls to eliminate the risk.

Planning

  • Place a pet rescue alert sticker or window cling in an area where the firefighters can see it. You should indicate the number of people and the number of pets inside your home.
  • Keep pets near entrances, so they are easy for firefighters to find if they need to rescue them. The safest practice is to keep your pet in a crate or in an enclosed area with a baby gate when you’re out. Their leashes and carriers should also be kept near an entrance for easy access in an emergency.
  • Before you leave your pet home alone, block the hiding spots that they retreat to when they’re scared. That way, firefighters will be able to easily locate your pet in an emergency situation.
  • A traditional battery operated smoke detector won’t do any good if your pet is home alone. Consider upgrading to a monitored smoke detector that will send you and the nearest fire station an alert if a fire starts in your home.
  • Whether you have an indoor or outdoor pet, they should have proper identification (a collar ID tag or a microchip). Pets may try to flee if they become scared of the fire and a lost pet will only cause your family more heartache.

Practice

  • Involve your pet in your family fire drills, so every member of your family is familiar with the plan.
  • A comprehensive fire safety plan should include determining the safest route, which doors to use as exits, grabbing your pet’s leash or carrier along the way, and planning for the unexpected (like having to escape out a window).
  • You may also give one family member the responsibility of taking care of the family pet in case of an emergency. That way there isn’t any chaos or confusion during your family’s escape.
  • Does your workplace allow pets? Make sure your office has regular fire drills and an escape plan in place for humans and their pets.

Even if you’ve never done it before, it’s not too late to come up with a fire safety strategy. It could make all the difference when it comes to keeping your four-legged family members safe not just this summer, but all year round.