Home fires are the most common disaster that the American Red Cross responds to – and also the most preventable. According to the United States Fire Administration, an estimated 500,000 pets are affected annually by fires.
The best way to protect your pets from the effects of a fire is to include them in your family plan. This includes having their own disaster supplies kit as well as arranging in advance for a safe place for them to stay if you need to leave your home.
When you practice your escape plan, practice taking your pets with you. Train them to come to you when you call.
In the event of a disaster, if you must evacuate, the most important thing you can do to protect your pets is to evacuate them, too. But remember: never delay escape or endanger yourself or family to rescue a family pet.
Prevent Your Pets from Starting Fires
The National Fire Protection Association estimates that nearly 1,000 home fires each year are accidentally started by the homeowners’ pets.
The American Kennel Club and ADT Security Services have joined forces to provide the following tips:
- Extinguish Open Flames – Pets are generally curious and will investigate cooking appliances, candles, or even a fire in your fireplace. Ensure your pet is not left unattended around an open flame and make sure to thoroughly extinguish any open flame before leaving your home.
- Remove Stove Knobs – Be sure to remove stove knobs or protect them with covers before leaving the house – a stove or cook top is the number one piece of equipment involved in your pet starting a fire.
- Invest in Flameless Candles – These candles contain a light bulb rather than an open flame, and take the danger out of your pet knocking over a candle. Cats are notorious for starting fires when their tails turn over lit candles.
- Secure Young Pets – keep them confined away from potential fire-starting hazards when you are away from home such as in crates or behind baby gates in secure areas.
Help Firefighters Help Your Pets
- Keep pets near entrances when away from home. Keep collars on pets and leashes at the ready in case firefighters need to rescue your pet. When leaving pets home alone, keep them in areas or rooms near entrances where firefighters can easily find them.
- Affix a pet alert window cling and write down the number of pets inside your house and attach the static cling to a front window. This critical information saves rescuers time when locating your pets. Make sure to keep the number of pets listed on them updated.