Pets and Fire Safety
No one wants to consider the possibility of facing a fire emergency in their own home, but it could happen at any time. Coming up with a fire plan is key to getting yourself and your family out safely. But what about your pets? Including pet preparation in your fire safety plan is crucial to get your furry friends out in time. Keep your furry companions safe by following these steps to create a fire evacuation plan for your pets.
- The best way to protect your pets from the effects of a fire is to include them in your family plan. This includes having their disaster supplies kit and arranging in advance for a safe place for them to stay if you need to leave your home.
- When you practice your escape plan, practice taking your pets with you. Train them to come to you when you call.
- If you must evacuate in the event of a disaster, the most important thing you can do to protect your pets is to evacuate them, too. But remember: never delay escape or endanger yourself or your family to rescue a family pet.
Prevent Your Pets from Starting Fires
The National Fire Protection Association estimates that nearly 1,000 home fires each year are accidentally started by the homeowners' pets.
- Extinguish Open Flames: Pets are generally curious and will investigate cooking appliances, candles, or even a fire in your fireplace. Ensure your pet is not left unattended around an open flame, and make sure to extinguish any open flame before leaving your home thoroughly.
- Remove Stove Knobs: Be sure to remove stove knobs or protect them with covers before leaving the house - a stove or cooktop is the number one piece of equipment involved in your pet starting a fire.
- Invest in Flameless Candles: These candles contain a light bulb rather than an open flame and take the danger out of your pet knocking over a candle. Cats are notorious for starting fires when their tails turn over lit candles.
- Secure Young Pets: Keep them confined away from potential fire-starting hazards when you are away from home, such as in crates or behind baby gates in secure areas.
Help Firefighters Help Your Pets
- Keep pets near entrances when away from home. Keep collars on pets and leashes at the ready in case firefighters need to rescue your pet. When leaving pets home alone, keep them in areas or rooms near entrances where firefighters can easily find them.
- Affix a pet alert window cling and write down the number of pets inside your house and attach the static cling to a front window. This critical information saves rescuers time when locating their pets. Make sure to keep the number of pets listed on them updated.
Be Prepared. Have a Plan.
- Know their hiding places! During a fire, your pets will be terrified, and they'll most likely run to the places they feel most safe. If you don't know their common hiding places, you could run out of time to save your furry, scaly, or feathered friend.
- Map it out! Find their hidey-hole and niches. Map these out on a piece of paper, and include the map in your fire escape plan.
- Always evacuate your pets on a leash or in a pet carrier. Pets will panic at the smell of smoke and may bolt when outside, making them impossible to find.
- Prepare an emergency kit for each of your animals. The kit should contain your pet's food, veterinary paperwork, prescription medications, and an updated photo and description of each animal. You may have to board your pet at a kennel or other facility until you get settled after a fire, and they will require proof that your pet has current vaccinations.
- Have an evacuation plan. If you have to evacuate your home, and you cannot return for a while, have a plan of action!