July 15th 2015 is designated “National Pet Fire Safety Day”. It is estimated that 500,000 pets are affected each year by home fires. The National Fire Protection Association shows that nearly 1,000 house fires are started by the pets.
Here are some tips to keep your pet from starting a fire:
- Remove stove knobs or protect them with covers when you are leaving your home. The stove/cook top is the #1 piece of equipment involved with our pets starting a fire. As pet sitters we have gone into homes where the cats have turned on the stove or cook top. Checking stoves and cook tops are a priority when we are checking the house each visit.
- Extinguish open flames–pets are curious. When you are going to be gone or you are really busy it is best to not have lit candles or a fire in the fire place. It is best not to leave anything cooking on the stove. Once again as a pet sitter we look for candles that are lit, or a fire in the fireplace when we make our visit. Yes, we have found lit candles upon our first visit. In fact I found like 7-8 candles lit in the fireplace. Do not leave your pet unattended around open flames. Be sure you thoroughly extinguish any open flame before you leave your house.
- You might want to invest in flame-less candles. The candles are battery operated and use a light bulb so takes the danger out of your pet starting a fire.
- Do not leave your pet’s water in a glass water bowl on a wooden deck. The sun’s rays when filtered through the glass and water can heat up and ignite the wooden deck beneath it. So for a water bowl on a wooden deck use ceramic bowls. I saw a suggestion to use a metal bowl but the metal would heat and could burn your pet’s tongue or mouth.
- Just as you would child proof your home for children, pet proof your house for your pets. Look for loose wires and other potential hazards.
How to keep your pet safe:
- Designate a space for your pets to stay when you are not home. This space should be close to an entrance if possible. I used to gate off my kitchen area and that is where my six canines would stay when I was not home. Keeping pets confined and knowing the hiding spaces in that area will help the fireman when arriving at your home.
- Have your escape route in case of a fire. Practice your escape and be sure you have collars and leashes accessible if you were to evacuate quickly or firefighters need to rescue your pets.
- Have a window decal in your front window. Write down the number of pets. Be sure to keep this information on the number of pets updated.
- Add a layer of protection by using monitored smoke detectors. The monitored smoke detector is more than your smoke alarms. They are connected to a monitoring center and allows emergency responders to be contacted.
Responsible pet ownership is keeping your pets safe and planning for unexpected emergencies which includes house fires. Pet proofing your home, developing escape routes that are pet friendly and using window clings to alert rescuers is the best way to protect your pets.