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Animal advocate: How to protect your pets in the event of a fire

Learn how to train and engage with pets during an emergency

Scared Dog Is Hiding Under The Bed At Home

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Pets are often considered part of the family, but their safety can sometimes be overlooked in emergency planning. As a pet owner, ensuring the safety of your pets during a fire is crucial. Learn more about the potential dangers, how to train and engage with pets during an emergency, and what to consider for the future to ensure pets are safe from fire hazards.

Potential fire dangers for pets

Consider the impact of these hazards on your pets when making emergency plans related to fires for your household.

  • Smoke inhalation: Pets are as susceptible as humans to the dangers of smoke inhalation, which can cause severe lung damage and can be more fatal to pets than flames themselves. Pets with shorter faces, like bulldogs and Persian cats, are particularly at risk due to their breathing difficulties.
  • Heat and flames: Pets often hide in nooks and crannies where they feel safe. During a fire, these places can become death traps. Flames can not only burn them but also cause super-heated air to damage their respiratory system.
  • Toxic fumes: The burning of certain common household items like plastic and synthetic fabrics can release toxic fumes that can be lethal to pets if inhaled.

4 steps to protecting pets in a fire emergency

Just like you do for the human members of your family, consider how you will protect your pets in the event a fire breaks out.

1. Ensure you have working smoke detectors: Install smoke detectors in your home and test them regularly to ensure they are working correctly. Consider interconnected smoke detectors that trigger simultaneously, so if one goes off, they all do, increasing the chances of hearing an alarm no matter where you are in the house.

2. Build a pet emergency kit: Prepare a pet emergency kit that includes food, water, a leash or carrier, medication, a first-aid kit, and your pet’s documents. Store this kit in a location that is easily accessible in an emergency.

3. Craft an escape plan: Include your pets in your family’s fire escape plan. Train them to come to you when you call them. During drills, practice evacuating with your pets so they become used to the routine. Identify a pet-friendly place to stay outside your home, as some emergency shelters may not allow pets.

4. Outfit pets with identification: Ensure your pet wears a collar with an ID tag that includes your name, phone number, and any relevant contact information. Microchipping is also a highly reliable way to ensure your pet can be returned to you if you get separated.

5. Alert emergency responders to your pets’ presence. Add a window decal with the number and types of pets inside the home to a screen door, a front door window, or windows in the front of the house.

3 safety measures for a pet-safe home

Sometimes pets can be the cause of a fire. Follow these guidelines to ensure your house is safe for pets to explore and take steps to prevent an emergency from occurring.

  1. Secure potential hazards: Keep pets away from open flames and heat sources like stoves, outdoor grills and candles. Secure wires and cords to prevent chewing, which could lead to electrical fires.
  2. Pet-proofing: Store flammable materials such as solvents, cleaners and oils away from areas where pets can reach them. Use pet gates to keep pets away from hazardous areas.
  3. Regular inspections: Regularly inspect areas where your pets spend a lot of time for potential fire hazards. Look for frayed wires, heat sources and other risks.

How pet owners can prep for the future

While emergency events don’t happen every day, it’s important to plan for the possibility.

  • Stay informed on advances in pet safety. Keep up-to-date with the latest in pet safety recommendations and fire safety technology. New products like pet alert window stickers can inform firefighters that pets are inside the home.
  • Be aware of community resources: Know your local community resources such as pet-friendly fire shelters or animal emergency response teams. Participate in community drills if available.
  • Consistently train your pet. Keep training your pet on evacuation procedures regularly. The more accustomed they are to the routine, the less likely they are to panic in the case of an actual fire.

By recognizing the potential dangers, preparing adequately and staying informed about best practices, you can significantly increase your pets’ safety during a fire. While fire emergencies may be unpredictable, having a plan and being prepared can make all the difference. Let’s ensure our furry, feathered or scaly friends are safe and protected from harm.