July in Colorado is known for being hot and dry, wildfires and of course, fireworks. For these reasons, July 15th is marked as Pet Fire Safety Day and the AKC (American Kennel Club) and ADT Security Systems have been raising awareness since 2008. An estimated 500,000 pets are affected annually by fires. Did you know home fires are the most common disaster responded to by the fire department? Additionally, nearly 1,000 home fires are accidentally caused by pets each year according to The National Fire Protection Association.
HOW CAN I REDUCE THE RISK OF A HOME FIRE WITH PETS?
⦁ Smoke Detectors– First and foremost, every home should have smoke detectors distributed throughout as well as tested regularly. There are even ‘smart’ smoke detectors that alert your phone if they are activated.
⦁ Flameless Candles– Investing in flameless candles can help the accidental wagging tail or curious kitty from accidentally starting a house fire.
⦁ Cover Stovetop Knobs– Dogs are curious creatures and many home fires have been started from a pup jumping up on the stove and accidentally turning on a burner.
⦁ Secure Wires And Cords– Dogs and cats can both be culprits when it comes to chewing on cords. Think Christmas lights, computer cords, lamps, etc. Cords and other electrical items should be secured and kept out of reach of pets.
⦁ Secure Pets While Away– Keeping pets (especially young ones) secured in crates or in a safe location with baby gates help keep them safe while you are away.
Paws to consider: Keep crated/gated pets close to an entrance/exit in your home so if a fire does occur, rescue personnel can reach them quickly.
SHOULD I CREATE A PET FIRE SAFETY PLAN?
The answer is a resounding “Yes!” While the hope is that a fire never occurs in your home, planning is essential in protecting your pets.
⦁ Pet Fire Safety-Make sure to follow the above tips on decreasing the risk of a home fire with pets.
⦁ Create An Escape Plan– Make sure that everyone in your home knows the best ways to escape in the event of a fire and who is responsible for grabbing which pet. The National Fire Prevention Agency website provides great information for planning.
⦁ Fire Drills– Consider running fire drills in your home so everyone feels comfortable in the event of an actual fire.
⦁ Have A Go Bag– A go bag is a bag strategically placed so you can store first aid kits, extra leash and collar, water, extra dog food, etc. so you can be ready in the event of an emergency.
HOW CAN I KEEP MY PETS SAFE IF I AM NOT HOME?
Thinking about your pet(s) being home during a fire while you are away is a harrowing thought for anyone. If you follow the previous steps hopefully the potential for a home fire will be reduced. Make sure your home has those smoke alarms and invest in the ‘smart’ alarms if possible so that you can be alerted on your phone right away and call 911.
In addition to good smoke detectors, make sure your home is labeled with pet fire stickers that indicates there are pets inside of the home and how many. This alerts emergency responders and helps them in their rescue efforts.
Paws to consider: You can get a free pet rescue decal from ASPCA by visiting https://secure.aspca.org/take-action/order-your-pet-safety-pack
We hope that you never have to face a home fire situation but being prepared is key. Take some time to look around your home for potential fire hazards, test your smoke alarms, install ‘smart’ alarms, create an escape plan and put together a go bag. This way if an emergency ever occurs you, your family and your pets will be prepared.
The Veterinary Center of Parker, Inc. is pawsitively excited to bring you Pet Tips & Advice. With each issue we hope to bring you a bit of information that you will find useful for you and your pet.
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