Did you know an estimated 500,000 household pets are affected by home fires each year? Our veterinarians recommend these tips to help keep your non-human family members safe from fire dangers and how to keep them from accidentally starting those blazes as well:
- Extinguish candles and unplug other fire hazards before leaving home – animals are drawn to flickering flames and besides the risk of your pet being burned, they can accidently knock over a candle and start a house fire. Consider battery-operated, flameless candles that look and smell like real candles. Turn off space heaters and halogen lamps, which can be easily knocked over by a curious canine and cause rugs and furniture to catch fire. Cats love to bat electrical cords around and they can electrocute your pet, especially if chewed upon. Damaged cords should be replaced right away since they are a fire hazard all on their own.
- Invest in monitored smoke detectors – since pets are often left home alone, the best way to protect them is to have smoke detectors that are connected to a monitoring center. If a fire develops, the monitoring center will automatically notify your fire department so your four-legged family members have a better chance of survival when every minute counts.
- Post a pet alert sticker on your front door or window – these inexpensive stickers will alert authorities about the number and types of pets living with you in case you aren’t at home when the fire department arrives.
- Prepare and regularly practice your evacuation plan – make sure your emergency evacuation plan includes your pets, and that you keep leashes, pet carriers, and treats by an exit. In addition, microchips, collars and tags should be kept up-to-date with your current contact information in case you and your pets are separated.
While there’s no way to prevent or predict a fire emergency, being aware and prepared will help minimize the risk and increase the chances for a safe outcome for those you love.