People don’t anticipate their home will catch on fire; that’s why it’s important to have a plan, and that plan should include your pets.
The American Humane organization says more than 500,000 pets are affected by house fires each year. And about 1,000 house fires are actually started by pets themselves.
If you are a pet owner, here are some measures American Humane says you should take in order to prevent a house fire:
- Reduce open flame exposure. Pets may be curious about open, unattended candles or a fireplace. Try for flameless candles or an enclosed fireplace instead.
- Put covers on stove knobs. An accidental nudge of a stove knob is the No. 1 cause of house fires started by pets.
- Secure loose wires. Pets may be tempted to chew on wires or cords.
- Do not put a glass bowl on a wooden porch. The rays of sun can heat up the bowl and cause a fire on a wooden deck.
Prevention is always the first step, but you must also be prepared, and there are some unique ways to make sure you and your family will know what to do with your pet, should your home catch fire.
- Put a decal in your front window that shows the number and types of pets you have. This will help first responders searching your home.
- Know your pets’ hideaways and ensure you can access them easily. In an emergency, you’ll need to be able to locate them and extract them quickly.
- Make sure your pets’ collar information and microchip database is updated. In the event they are lost during a fire, this will help first responders get them back to you.
- Connect your smoke detectors to emergency responders. In the event a fire breaks out while you’re away from the home, you can take comfort in knowing your pet still has access to emergency response.
Should you find yourself in the unfortunate situation in which your home catches fire, attempt to do the following:
- Try to grab your pet on your way out, but don’t delay your own escape and don’t endanger yourself or your family. When first responders get to your home, let them know your pet is still inside so they can continue to look for them.
- Leave leashes or carriers in convenient spots so, if possible, you can grab them as you are escaping a house fire. It could be chaotic outside, so it will help to keep them in a safe area.
- Never go back inside a burning house to retrieve a pet. Instead, call to them repeatedly from a safe distance.