Tomorrow has been designated National Pet Fire Safety Day, a day when you are encouraged to consider your pet when making your family’s fire safety plans. Most people are careful to have a fire safety plan in place for their family; developing a safety plan that includes your pet can greatly increase the odds of your pet’s survival in the event of a fire emergency.
One of the first steps to take is to install smoke alarms in your home, and if you already have them, make sure they are all in good working order. Monitored smoke detectors are best for homes with pets, as an alarm will be of no use if your pet is home alone and unable to escape the fire. Come up with an escape route to use in the event of a fire, and designate a family member who will be responsible for any pets in the home. Make sure that a leash or pet carrier is easily accessible so the pets can be safely evacuated without the risk of them becoming lost in the confusion surrounding the emergency. If you are not home when the fire occurs, or are unable to evacuate your pets safely, a special pet rescue window cling will alert rescuers that there are pets in the home. Make sure the information on the window cling is up-to-date with the number of pets in your home, and that it is affixed in a front window or spot where it will easily be seen.
In addition to having a plan to protect your pet in the event of a fire, it is important to ensure that your pets are not able to accidentally cause a fire in your home. According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly 1,000 house fires each year are accidentally started by the pets of the homeowners. Help prevent your dog or cat from causing a fire by keeping them away from open flames such as candles, fireplaces and stovetops, and never leave a pet unattended around an open flame. Remove stove knobs, or cover them before you leave the house. Candles are especially dangerous around cats since they can easily jump up onto shelves or countertops where you have placed candles. Consider using flameless candles, or if you enjoy the smell of a scented candle, you can purchase electric candle warmers. Avoid using glass bowls outside on wooden decks; believe it or not, a glass bowl can concentrate the rays of the sun enough to start a fire on a wooden deck.
Most people consider pets a part of the family. Including your pets in your fire safety plan will ensure your entire family remains safe, and prepared in the event of a fire emergency.