You might be surprised to hear that an estimated 1,000 home fires are caused each year by the family pet and more than 500,000 pets are involved in fires each year where they were not the cause. The family pet is considered by most to be an equally important member of the family unit, yet our four legged friends are often overlooked when planning a fire escape plan and taking fire prevention steps.
In this article we discuss some easy to follow steps to help pet owners create a safe environment for pets, as well as some action plans in the unfortunate event of a home fire while your pet is home alone.
Monitored smoke detectors and fire alarms – If a fire breaks out in your home it can be a matter of minutes for a small flame to turn into an inferno. Monitored smoke and carbon monoxide alarms give you the quickest way of alerting the fire department in the event of an emergency. Not only can they save your pet’s life, but it can also be the difference between minimal damage and a total loss of your home.
Keep an eye on all flames and fire sources – Everyone knows that pets are inquisitive by nature and can easily be intrigued by open flames. You always want to extinguish any open flames that you cannot keep an eye on. This includes the stove top, candles, and especially your fireplace. Unattended pets should never be left alone around any open flames and, pet or no pet, you should always extinguish any fires or candles before leaving the house.
Secure stove knobs – Many electric stoves are controlled by digital panels, but most gas ranges are controlled by easy to turn knobs. Removing the knobs or securing them with gas knob locks can give you piece of mind knowing they cannot be turned on by accident. According to fire inspection statistics, cook tops are the number one culprit when it comes to home fires caused by pets.
Purchase candle lights – There are battery operated candles that have light bulbs instead of a wick and can produce the same soft glow. Investing in these instead of traditional candles can keep your pet safe from knocking them over and starting a fire or torching their tails over a lit candle.
Make your home pet proofed – Pets are like small children and are guaranteed to get into almost everything. That is why it is a good idea to do a thorough walk through of your home to look for any potential hazards like loose wires or exposed electrical wires. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Use a pet alert window cling – One of the most inexpensive and effective ways to keep your pet safe is to install a pet safety window cling to a front window of your home. Keeping an updated cling with the number of pets that are in your home can be a priceless tool for firefighters.
Leave pets near an entrance to your home – If possible, it is a good idea to crate your pets near the front or back doors of your home when you leave. This will make it easy for them to be found by firefighters. If your pets are allowed to freely roam the house, you may want to consider closing off bedroom doors or any rooms of your house that a pet could potentially run into and hide.
Confine your younger pets – Puppies, kittens and other baby critters should certainly be kept away from any fire hazards. It is probably best to crate them or keep them in a gated area. Again, this will make it easier for firefighters to find them and it will also keep them safe from causing any harmful mischief while you are gone.
Include your pets in your escape route. – Your pet will probably not know what to do in the event of a fire which means you need to do the planning for them. It is a great idea to keep extra leashes and collars near every exit of your home. This way you will be prepared and your beloved pet will not be able to flee once they are outside. Leashes and collars are also a good visual cue to let firefighters know there is a pet in the home.