Pets often complete our family and our homes. They are the first ones to greet us at the door, they eat breakfast and dinner with us, and sometimes we even let them sleep in our beds. But many people forget that they are a bit more curious than we are. Each year, it is estimated that half a million pets are affected by house fires. Many of these animals get trapped or hide in the house, making it hard for rescuers to find them. What many people aren’t aware of is that some pets actually cause more house fires than you would think.
Being prepared for emergencies is often an afterthought for some families, but it can be a crucial factor during an unexpected incident. There are a few short steps your family can take to ensure your preparedness if a fire emergency does occur in your home.
The National Fire Prevention agencies says about 1,000 fires are started by pets each year. So how are our furry friends causing all this trouble?
- Open flames
Pets are investigative creatures and you should do your best to keep your pet away from any gas stove tops, candles, fireplaces, or any other open flames. Before you leave your house be sure to extinguish all flames and never leave your pet in a room with an open flame unattended.
The National Fire Prevention agency found that stovetops are the top cause of pet started fires. When leaving your pet home alone you can remove all knobs and replace them with covers. If you have a gas fireplace, keep your pet out of that room while you are gone.
- Glass Bowls
Surprisingly, leaving your pet’s glass water or food bowl outside can ignite a fire. The sun shines through the glass and can start a spark, igniting anything flammable around it. You can purchase ceramic or metal bowls to avoid this.
- Young Pets
Our young pets are more prone to investigating unknown objects and being a bit rambunctious. When you leave your home you can keep young pets in a crate or secure area to ensure they will not get into dangerous areas.
- Pet Doors
Installing a small pet door for your pet to go in and out of your house freely will allow your pet to escape if there is a fire. Your pet can escape quicker and will prevent them from hiding where rescuers cannot find them.
- Use Monitored Smoke Alarms
Monitored smoke alarms can contact you, your fire department, and your security company if there is a fire. The Nest Protect can alert your phone when your alarm goes off. If it is not a true emergency, such as burnt popcorn, you can hush the alarm right from your phone wherever you are. ADT’s Fire and Smoke Detector will alert both you and the fire department immediately if there is a fire.
- Pet Alert Stickers
Attaching pet stickers to your windows will allow rescuers to search for any pets right away and notify them of the number of pets inside. ASPCA Pet Safety Pack is free and allows you to specify what type of pet, the number of pets, and who to call in the event of an emergency. It also comes with an ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center magnet with their contact information.
- Evacuation Pack & Plan
Keep a small bag with your pet’s leash, treats, water, tags, any medications, list of medical conditions, and a pet first aid kit. Map out your evacuation plan from each part of your house to make escaping with your pet as easy as possible.
- Keep Collar On
If applicable to your pet, try to keep your pet’s collar with identification tags on at all times. Your pet may flee far away from the fire once they have escaped outside. Keeping their collar on will allow rescuers to identify your pet and contact you as soon as possible.
Our pets look to us to take care of them and help with the things they cannot do on their own. Taking these simple precautions can protect your pet and your home from fire damage and increase more hours of cuddling with your favorite furry friends.