A house fire can be devastating to both humans and animals who live under the same roof. Unfortunately, in an emergency, while adults and children may already know what to do, cats and dogs can be left behind in the rush to survive. In fact, each year, an estimated 500,000 pets are affected by house fires, according to the American Kennel Club.
In observation of National Pet Fire Safety Day, here are 9 tips you can use to prevent fires and protect your animals in the event of an actual fire emergency.
How to Prevent a Fire for Pet Owners
- Do Not Leave Flames Unattended. Pets, who are naturally curious, could be attracted to cooking appliances, open candles or even the fire inside your fireplace. Ensure your pet cannot reach these instruments, and make sure to extinguish any open flame before leaving your residence.
- Consider Flameless Alternative. LED candles and other devices using light bulbs rather than open flames can be a safer alternative for residences with animals.
- Conceal Your Loose Wiring. From your computers to other electronics, charging cables and cords can spark a fire if chewed by an animal. Always seek to conceal or cover wires so they are out of reach from your cat or dog.
- Purchase Pet Rescue Stickers for Your Windows. These stickers, available free or at a nominal cost online and in stores, alert firefighters to the presence of animals in the home that may need to be rescued in the event of a fire.
- Know Your Pet’s Hiding Places. If a fire breaks out, your pet may become frightened and will seek out a safe hideaway. Knowing where these hiding spots are may make it easier to locate the animal during an evacuation or a fire rescue.
- Prepare a Pet Emergency Kit. If your cat or dog requires any medications, you may want to stow away a supply in an emergency kit you can grab and evacuate with in the event of a fire. You may also want to include veterinary paperwork, photos/descriptions of your pet in the event she runs away during the evacuation, pet food and clean, bottled water.
In The Event of a Fire…
- Alert Firefighters to Rescue Your Pets. If you are unable to find your pets, evacuate your home and tell fire and rescue workers about the presence of any animals and their locations, if known.
- Evacuate Animals with Leash or Carrier. The scene of a fire can be a traumatic experience for humans and pets alike. If you are able to reach your cat or dog, evacuate the area and either place them on a leash or carrier to prevent them from running away.
- Leave an Outside Door Open. As you evacuate the residence, leave a door open to the outside and call your pet’s name. Your cat or dog may hear your voice and be able to escape the fire.