Pet Fire Safety and Preparedness
No one wants to think about the unthinkable – an accidental fire in your home. Between keeping our families safe and ensuring our four-legged friends are out of harm’s way, it’s certainly a scary thought.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways we can prepare for such disasters to help minimize their impact. Our pets may not always be able to care for themselves, but here are a few safety measures you can take to help protect your furry friends.
Tips for helping keep you and your pets safe in the event of a fire
Display signage for emergency response teams: There are several “pet finder” decals and signs pet parents can place in windows to indicate where their animal companion is most likely to be found in the event of a fire; this is especially helpful if you keep your pet in a kennel or crate. Be sure to display the sign in an area responders can easily see upon entry.
Keep pet beds and toys away from open flames: During the winter months, our pets enjoy the heat from a fireplace or wood stove as much as we do. But it’s important to avoid placing anything that can potentially catch fire – like a dog bed or chew toys – near any open flames. Be sure to place candles out of your pet’s reach, and avoid spots where they can be easily knocked over. Watch out for heater vents on or near the floor as well; although they do not present nearly the risk of an open flame, it is a dangerous idea to block a heating vent with a dog bed, and the constant heat can injure pets.
Make sure your pets are microchipped: In addition to ensuring your pet is always wearing up-to-date identification tags, we also strongly recommend microchipping your pets. Fires are confusing and stressful for everyone involved, and microchipping can significantly increase the likelihood of a reunion if your pet runs away amidst the chaos.
Ensure your house is on high alert: Make sure you have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors; do your best to pet-proof your home, paying special attention to electrical cords – especially if you have a puppy or kitten that might chew on them, making your home at-risk for a fire. This is an even bigger risk around the holidays when electrical decorations and fireplaces are more actively used.
In the event of a fire: As soon as help arrives, let emergency response teams know that your pet may still be inside and give them an idea of where to look. The best thing you can do for your pet is take care of yourself first, to ensure you’re able to care for your pets for years to come.
Monitor your pet closely:In case of a fire, be sure to keep a close eye on your pet and their demeanor in the aftermath. If your pet seems to be acting lethargic or is having any difficulty breathing following the fire, this could be a sign of smoke inhalation. Let first responders know so they can provide appropriate care, as many fire departments are trained and equipped to help people and pets. As soon as possible, bring your pet to a veterinarian to be evaluated and receive any needed care.