The statistics on pets and fires are heartbreaking. Every year, approximately 1,000 pets accidentally start a fire in the home. Whether it’s knocking over a space heater or bumping a knob on a stove, these incidents happen more often than they should. Even more troubling, 40,000 pets succumb to injuries from a fire and more than 500,000 receive serious injuries every year. This is what prompted the American Kennel Club (AKC) and ADT Security Services to come together to create National Pet Fire Safety Day. It takes place annually on July 15, which falls on a Saturday this year.
Prevent Fires and Burn Injuries to Keep Your Pet Safe
Part of being a responsible pet owner
is eliminating unnecessary risks, including the possibility of a house fire or your pet getting burned some other way. If you don’t have a smoke detector or only have one, be sure to install one on each floor of your home. Test the batteries often and change them before they have no power left at all.
When it comes to preventing fires and burn injuries, you need to think like a dog or cat and pet-proof your home accordingly. That mean you need to look up from the floor and not down from your usual perspective.
Stoves are a common area for pets to start fires, especially dogs. This is easy to understand when you consider that dogs have a strong sense of smell and just want to see what they’re missing. Unfortunately, they can bump a knob in the process with no one noticing until it’s too late. Pet-proofing also involves keeping hot items, like a clothes iron, out of your pet’s reach and putting them away immediately when you’re done with them.
If you have a fireplace in your home, never allow your pet near it unsupervised. This is true whether you’re currently burning logs or not, since your pet could injure herself on equipment you use for the fireplace. Additionally, keep your pet away from burning candles and blow them out before leaving the room.
Placing your pets near the front of your home when you leave makes it easier for firefighters to find them. You may also want to consider placing a notification on your front door letting emergency responders know the types of animals you have and how many. This alerts them to look for pets when responding to an emergency. Lastly, make sure that you do a quick check for fire hazards whenever you leave your pet home alone.
Develop a Fire Escape Plan That Includes Your Pet
Every second counts when it comes to fires. You don’t want to waste precious time searching for your pet’s belongings when trying to get out of the house. We recommend placing food, medication, fresh bottled water, bedding, and toys into a sturdy bag and keeping it near the front door. If you have a large pet or you think he might run the other way in the stress of an emergency, place a collar and leash at the front of the house as well. It’s also a good idea to get a microchip
for your pet ahead of time in case you do become separated in the chaos of a fire.
Photo Credit: A Dog's Life Photo / Getty Images