“Woohoo, I love all this special attention from my master. I get the driver seat now! I got a new bowl, a fancy tag and all these weird flickering lights in the room that don’t burn my nose. Off to the kitchen we go – what am I getting next?!” — eager learning pet
Keeping pets out of danger in the event of a house fire is really important, but you might be surprised to learn that our precious furry friends can be the accidental cause of house fires as well. In 2010, studies showed that approximately 500,000 pets were affected each year by house fires.
As responsible pet owners there are some things you can do to help lessen these statistics.
Minimize The Risks Of Fires Started By Pets
- Use Flameless Candles– Cats and dogs both are likely to jump around and accidentally knock a candle off a table. Or they could even have an out of control tail that can cause havoc. By using flameless candles in your home, you eliminate this danger.
- Beware of Stove Knobs- A dog can easily try to get to the top of a stove and hit a knob- thereby starting a fire. This is the number one way that pets have been shown to cause fires. So, to be safe, the National Fire Protection Association suggests not leaving food on the stove as incentive and to also remove stove knobs or covering them up when not in use. Make sure that animals can not get the controls of flat top stoves as well.
- Use Care With Open Flame– it seems obvious, but even leaving your pet alone for a few minutes with an open flame can be a recipe for disaster.
- Beware of Clear Water Bowls on Wooden Decks – The sun’s rays going through a glass bowl on a hot day can actually get warm enough to start a fire. Be sure to use stainless steel or ceramic bowls outside instead.
These preventative measures are a great start to keep your entire family as safe as you can. Don’t stop there. A little extra planning on what to do should a fire strike will go a long way.
Protecting Your Pets In Case Of A Fire
- Have a Plan– when you create a fire safety plan for your family, be sure to have a family member specifically in charge of your pet. Make sure they know where your pet will hide and how to best get them to safety should you need to evacuate your home.
- Be Sure Your Pet Has an ID– a microchip is the best way to ensure your pet’s safety should you be separated. But, the most important thing you need to do is have them wear a collar with their name, address and phone number on it at all times. This way, if they escape your home in a fire and run off, someone can help get your pet back to you. More tips on Pet IDs here.
- Keep Pets Near an Entrance– It’s suggested that while you are gone, you keep your pets blocked near an entrance. If your pets are near an entrance or large window, firefighters will have an easier time getting to them should the need arise. Also, this may help keep the pets from running to hide. Any time saved in finding your pet is time towards saving their life.
- Use Pet Window Stickers- There are several places you can get free window stickers to put on your doors/windows to alert emergency personnel of the animals inside. The ASPCA offers a FREE safety package here.
- Secure Young Pets- be sure to keep your fur babies in a secure area that will keep them away from potential fire starting hazards.
- Consider a Monitored Smoke Detector- Several companies offer this today. These monitoring devices will contact emergency dispatch when smoke is noticed and will send the appropriate responders.
Make your family prevention and preparedness plans a family activity where everybody joins in to discuss the plan and practice fire drills. More than likely you’ll never need to take action, but if you did, you’ll be glad for the dry runs.