Emergencies can and do happen in a myriad of ways. Statistics indicate that pets and wild animals have a part in starting about 750 home fires per year. These involve cooking equipment, fireplaces and chimneys, space heaters, lamps, bulbs, wiring, and candles. While we can never be 100 percent prepared for such events, we can protect our families, homes, and pets when they do.
How to be Prepared
Our pets are generally curious creatures and will investigate cooking appliances, candles, or even a fire in your fireplace. Ensure that there are no areas of your home where pets can accidentally start a fire, including stove knobs, loose wires, open flames, and other potential hazards. Secure pets in a crate or behind baby gates in safe areas to prevent them from getting into trouble.
An emergency fire evacuation plan is important for the whole family, including your pets. Practicing escape routes and training them to come when you call could be the difference between life and death in a scary situation. Build a reasonably sized evacuation kit for each pet in your household and include food, water, medication, and a photo of your pet in case you get separated. Make sure that all pets are microchipped and wear collars with updated ID tags containing your contact information.
If you live in a fire-prone area, monitored smoke detectors are always a smart choice. Should a fire start, firefighters will be notified and can respond, even if you aren’t home.
In the event that you are home when a fire begins, be aware that your pet can smell smoke before you can and may try to warn you. The pet that is “going crazy for no reason” may literally be smelling danger.
What to do in an Emergency
In the event of a disaster, if you must evacuate, take your pets with you whenever possible, but remember to never delay an escape or endanger yourself or your family to rescue a pet. Note where your pets like to hide or nap, as this can be important in rescuing them. Assist firefighters by informing them of these locations if your pet is trapped so they can easily find them.
Pets give us comfort, friendship, and unconditional love, but they can also accidentally cause fires. While we can’t completely prevent an emergency situation from happening, we can help protect our furry friends by practicing fire safety and being prepared should tragedy strike. Contact Sierra Veterinary Hospital for more information on pet fire safety tips and learn how you can keep your loved ones safe during a fire.