We love our pets and would like to give them a good home, a good life and keep them safe from harm. We buy them the best food, take care of them and try to give them the best pet care we can provide. However, sometimes there are natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes or house fires that can put our beloved pets in mortal danger. When these things happen, we often panic and wonder what we can possibly do to protect our furry friends.
How Pets Can Start House Fires
According to an article posted on the American Kennel Club in 2010, 1000 house fires are started by pets each year. Therefore, we must take measures to prevent this from happening. Here is a list of ways to stop little Fluffy or Fido from getting into mischief and starting a fire that could destroy your home and put them in danger:
Don’t leave open flames unattended – pets are curious about fire, so they will want to come closer and inspect any open fire such as candles, lanterns, stoves, fireplace or barbecue fire. In essence, you have to think of your pet as being like a precocious child who would love to see what’s there and doesn’t understand the dangers involved.
You should never allow your pet access to fires as they might hurt themselves or accidentally knock down the source of the flame and start a house fire. Make sure all fire sources are extinguished completely before you leave the room. In essence, if you wouldn’t want your two year old child to be around it, you probably don’t want your pet to have access to it unattended either.
Protect your stove knobs – Pets (especially cats that can climb and jump high or tall dogs who are always on the lookout for something tasty to steal) can accidentally turn on the stove knob while you are away. Make sure you remove or protect the knobs to prevent activation when you leave the stove unattended.
Lamps can also start a fire – Desk lamps, flame less candles or any device that uses a traditional incandescent light bulb which heats up can also be hazardous and can cause pain to your pet. These things can also start a fire if they are accidentally knocked down by an annoyed cat or a curious dog. In case of cats, you have to make sure to put the lamp out of reach, as cats, unlike dogs, can jump and reach really high ledges and shelves, making for easily damaged and destroyed lamps and candles.
Water can be dangerous too – Glass water bowls can act as a magnifying glass if left in direct sunlight on a flammable deck, thus starting a fire. Avoid putting out glass containers filled with water for your pets. It is more advisable to use stainless steel or plastic water bowls to prevent the risk of starting a fire. Not to mention that glass bowls can be hazardous to your pet’s health when they break.
Try not to leave electrical cords exposed – Like human babies, a lot of puppies and kittens like to chew on everything they can get their paws on, but unlike babies, pets, even in infancy, have sharp teeth that can cause serious damage. One wrong chew on a power cord can electrocute your pet or cause a spark that starts a fire. Make sure that electrical cords are out of reach and try to unplug everything you can when you leave the house. It may also be advisable to use safety power strips to simply turn off the power so that you don’t have loose cords sitting around which can cause other problems.
Secure Your Home For Fire Safety
Knowing that pets can accidentally cause house fires is the first thing that you need to do in order to prevent house fires. You should also make sure that you take the following fire safety measures.
Install Fire Alarms – Fire alarms should be installed on every level of your house, in bedrooms, kitchens and outside sleeping areas. Also, make sure to do a monthly test, making sure the alarms work to make sure they will alert you if needed. Change the batteries as required as well. In addition, it’s important to regularly replace your fire alarm. They have expiration dates printed on them because the elements used to detect fire can deteriorate over time.
Prepare an Emergency Kit for Your Pet – Make sure to pack up an emergency bag for your pet in case you need to make a quick evacuation. Inside the beg, you should pack a leash, any medication (if needed), medical documents to make sure that your pet receives the and some food. Place the bag in an easy to reach location so you can quickly grab it in case of an emergency. But make sure it’s not within easy reach of your pet — the last thing you want is to be reaching for your emergency go back and find that Fluffy found a tasty treat to chew on when you weren’t looking. Look for a place that has products to include in your pet’s emergency kit.
Use a Pet Alert Window Sticker – Available in any pet store or animal organization are pet alert stickers. These are special stickers that alerts firefighters that you have pets in the house, how many pets are located in your household and what kind (cats, dogs, others). Make sure to keep them up to date in case of any changes and in case of an emergency, know where your pets are likely located inside of your home so that you can tell firefighters where to look.
Pets Should Always Wear Their ID’s – In case of a fire, or any other emergency, your pet might panic and try to run away. Therefore, you should always make sure they are wearing proper identification tags, which include their name, current address and phone number so you can be contacted when they are found. It is also vital to make sure your pet is microchipped as one of the first things pet sanctuaries will do with stray animals is to scan for these devices.
Secure an Evacuation Plan
Just like the fire drills you are required to go through at school or at work, it is advised that you plan a secure route for an escape in case of a fire in order to provide the best pet care possible. It has to be the quickest, most efficient way to provide fast escape for your pets and yourself. Practice fire drills at home so your pets are familiar with fire escape route in case of an emergency. Keep in mind that it’s advisable to have multiple routes available as any given route could end up being blocked by fire.
National Pet Fire Safety Day
Every July 15th has been declared National Pet Fire Safety Day in the US, this is a day where the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) provide information on how to act in case of a fire house and how to prevent it. The information they provide can be invaluable when you are planning for emergency evacuation for your furry friends.
When a House Fire Breaks
Sometimes, despite all of our best efforts, a fire breaks out. In that case, we need to know how to act quickly to ensure the safety of our pets and our own. Here are some useful tips in case of a fire:
Keeping leashes and carriers next to the entrance – In case of a fire, you need to be able to grab your pet as quickly as possible and exit the house. Therefore, you should keep all leashes, crates and carriers as close to the front door as possible in order to ensure a quick exit if needed. This can also be incredibly helpful to firefighters in locating the pets if a rescue is needed. Remember that your first priority should be getting yourself and your animals to safety. Everything else is expendable. Life is not.
Get acquainted with your pet’s favorite hiding spot – Knowing what places your pets regard as safe and like to hide in is crucial, as in the case of a fire, you need to block access to those places to avoid your pets hiding in far to reach places. This will assist with a quicker, more efficient rescue by firefighters if needed.
Consider Home Monitoring Equipment
Wired.com has a list of some excellent and potentially life saving pet cameras with features specifically designed with pet owners in mind. These devices are designed to help you keep you up to date in case of any emergency that may occur while you are away from home and your pet ends up getting into mischief.
Your pets are a part of the family and you wouldn’t want to abandon your family members in the case of a fire. So make sure that you safeguard their lives with some sensible tips on fire safety and escape plans. Keeps safe and enjoy your animals always being prepared for the different and unexpected harms that could come on the daily