At SPPD, we recommend preparedness for disasters of all types, including fires.
As you prepare a prevention and evacuation plan for your family, don’t forget to include your furry friends in your plans. When you practice your escape plan with your family, practice taking your pet with you. Train them to come to you when you call. In a real-life situation, the best you can do for your pet is to evacuate them. But remember, never delay escape or endanger yourself or your family to rescue a family pet.
Part of prevention planning in relation to your pet includes preventing your pet from starting a fire. The American Red Cross (with references from The American Kennel Club and ADT Security Services) offers the following information:
- 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 (including electrical cords) when you are away from home such as in crates or behind baby gates in secure areas.
The Red Cross also suggests taking measures to help firefighters to evacuate 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.
SOURCE: American Red Cross, (nd) Pet Fire Safety: Protecting Your Pets from Potential Danger. Retrieved from: https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/fire/pet-fire-safety.html