Pets and flames definitely don’t mix! Did you know that around 1,000 fires are started by pets each year according to the National Fire Protection Association? That’s a scary number, and it doesn’t take into account the number of pets affected by fires annually.
That’s why the American Kennel Club (AKC) and ADT Security Services formed National Pet Fire Safety Day, celebrated on July 15th. This is a great opportunity for those of us who love animals and have them in our lives and homes, to brush up on fire safety tips for pets.
Lisa Peterson with the AKC says, “One of the hallmarks of responsible dog ownership is keeping pets safe and planning for unexpected emergencies, including house fires. Pet proofing the home, developing pet-friendly escape routes and alerting rescuers of your pets presence with ‘window clings’ is the best way to keep your four-legged family member from harm.
With this in mind, I have put together a list of tips that we can use to make our homes are even safer for our pets:
- Make sure to blow out candles, turn off the stove, put out cigarettes, and extinguish fires in fireplaces before leaving home, going to sleep, showering, or otherwise not supervising
- Keep candles up high and out of reach of both dogs and cats or look into flameless candles. My cats have caught their whiskers on fire before by getting too curious with my candles
- Remove stove knobs, get a knob covers or use a pet gate to keep dogs out of the kitchen when you are not around. My dogs have jumped on my gas stove and turned on the gas for one of the burners by accident before, and this is not uncommon in other homes
- Never leave dogs or cats (or children!) unattended near open flames
- Young and super-curious pets may need to be kenneled or safely behind a door or pet gate when candles or fireplaces are being used, even if we are supervising
- If there is a fire at our home while we are away and our pets are inside, keeping pets in a room near the front door will make them easier for firefighters to locate and save
- A window cling or sign on your front door that states the number and type of pets in your home will also be very helpful to firefighters. Make sure to keep it updated and check it a few times a year for fading
- Make sure your pet is always wearing a collar with tags in case they dart out the door if firefighters must break it down
- Keep leashes in an easy to reach place in case a fire starts while you are sleeping and you need to get your pets out of the house quickly
- Smoke detectors that are monitored are much safer for pets left home alone when a fire begins than battery-powered smoke detectors because someone will be immediately notified, and help will be sent
- Don’t use glass water bowls outdoors on wooden decks. If it gets flipped over and the sun hits it just right, it can catch the wood on fire by magnifying the sun’s rays, just like you’ve seen on TV with a pair of glasses
Let’s all take today to make sure our homes are as safe as they can be for our furry, four-legged family members. Do you have any other pet fire-safety tips or pet-proofing tips? Let us know in the comment section below.