Most families have a good idea of what to do if a fire breaks out. But what about your four-legged family members? Your furry friend doesn’t know the protocol for escaping a house fire. Pets panic in the face of danger, so it’s your job to lead them to safety.
Many pet parents forget to include their furry family members in their emergency planning. National Pet Fire Safety Day was founded to educate owners on how they can save their cats and dogs from a fire. On July 15th this year, honor the important occasion by creating a fire safety plan for your pets.
Fire safety supplies for pets
Pet parents need the right tools to help their fur babies escape a fire. Adding pet supplies to your fire safety plan can save a life, especially if you’re not home when a fire breaks out. Here are the supplies every pet parent needs in their fire safety plan.
- Monitored smoke detector: Average smoke detectors will sound an alarm in the home to let occupants know there’s a fire. However, this doesn’t do you any good if your pets are home alone! A monitored smoke detector will notify your local fire department when smoke starts to fill the home. That way, firefighters can rescue your fur babies even if you don’t know about the fire.
- Pet safety window cling: Pet parents can purchase a window cling that lists the number of pets in your household, the type of pets and the vet’s contact information. These window clings increase a pet’s chances of survival because they tell firefighters who to look for when they enter the home. Place the sticker in one of your front windows where first responders can easily see it.
- Microchipping and ID tags: Some pets may escape a fire on their own. Pets can bolt out the door or elude the people trying to help them. You’re more likely to become reunited with a lost pet when they’re microchipped and wearing an ID tag on their collar. Keep the microchip and ID tag up to date with your current name, address and contact information. A microchip won’t do much good if it contains the wrong phone number!
- Leashes, carriers and treats: Nearly all pet parents already own these items. What’s more important is where the items are located in your home. There should be a leash or carrier near all exits to safely escort your pet away from danger. The treats can help you coax frightened pets towards the exit, which decreases the amount of time it takes to flee the home.
Plan for when you’re not home
A fire can spark while you’re away from home. In fact, unsupervised animals are responsible for causing more than 700 house fires each year. You need a plan for protecting your pet, regardless of whether you’re home or not. Plan for the unexpected with these fire safety tips.
- Eliminate fire hazards: Many house fires are the result of curious pets toying with fire hazards. They might chew on electrical cords or step on the stove knobs. Cats are notorious for knocking over lit candles when they jump onto shelves. Lower the risk of a fire by securing electrical cords away from your pet. Put on stove knob covers, or remove them altogether when you leave the home. Consider switching to battery-operated candles, even if you’re home to supervise the pets.
- Put crates and beds near entrances: When you head out, your pet will spend most of their time in a crate or cat bed. Place these snoozing spots close to main entrances so your pet is easy to find. Firefighters might not get to your fur baby in time if they’re hiding in a closet deep inside the house. The closer your pet is to the front door, the more likely they will be saved from a fire.
- Find a temporary home: If your home suffers fire damage, you’ll have to arrange living accommodations for the family. The place where you stay might not allow pets, so create a plan that accounts for your four-legged companions. See if a friend, relative or trusted neighbor is willing to provide a temporary home for your cat or dog.
Pets are part of the family—they shouldn’t be left to fend for themselves during a fire! National Pet Fire Safety Day serves as a reminder to include fur babies in your escape plan. Now’s your chance to create a game plan if you don’t already have one!