One of the worst nightmares of any pet parent is the prospect of your beloved furry friend getting injured or killed in a house fire. Each year, July 15th is National Pet Fire Safety Day, and we at Harmony Animal Hospital wanted to take the opportunity to explain a few crucial tips on how you can make your home fire-safe so that your pets never accidentally start a house fire.
Like people, pets are very susceptible to serious injury or death from smoke inhalation, and house fires affect about half a million pets each year. Also worthy of consideration is the fact that pets accidentally start roughly 1,000 house fires every year, which is especially concerning and disastrous when pet parents are away at work and don’t know what’s happening on the home front. Keeping your house fireproofed and containing your pets in certain areas of the house can help prevent fires and, in the event that a fire does start, can save your pet’s life.
Here are a few ways you can prevent your pets from starting fires, as well as a couple tips on how to keep your pets safe in the event of a fire in your home.
Put out all fires in your home
If you have a fireplace, traditional candle flames, or any other source of open flame in your home, make sure to extinguish them before you leave your pet alone. Kitties are notorious for knocking over candles with their tails, and an enthusiastic puppy or dog can crash into or tip over open flame sources. If you have a fireplace or wood stove, make sure to extinguish the flames before you leave the home.
Remove or cover stove knobs in the kitchen
Whether you have a gas or electric stove, it’s important to keep your pets from accidentally turning on the burners on your stovetop. You can get specially-made stove knob covers at home accessory stores and pet stores, and these simple devices will keep your pet from turning on your gas or electric stove burners. If you don’t have stove knob covers, it’s a good idea to remove the knobs altogether before you leave the house. In this way, you can cut the risk of your pet starting a house fire in the kitchen or filling the house with flammable gases.
Use flameless candles
If you like the aesthetics of candles but don’t want to risk a pet-started fire accident, consider getting flameless candles. These special candles have a soft, low-light bulb and many of them flicker, perfectly mimicking traditional candles. Flameless candles are inexpensive, easy to find, and they have all the class of traditional candles without the risk!
Keep glass water bowls off wooden decks and porches
Many pet parents keep a bowl of water outside for their pet, and this is a good idea if you have kitties that stay outside during the day or a dog who spends time in the back yard. However, glass water bowls on wooden decks are a fire hazard and should be avoided. When the sun shines through water and glass, it can magnify the sun’s rays and cause the wood deck or porch to ignite! If you want to put a water dish out on the porch for your pet, stick with a metal or ceramic dish.
Keep your pet close to the front entrance
If you have to leave your home, keep your pet contained near the front of the house, especially if you have young and rambunctious animals like a frisky kitten or a clumsy, playful puppy. First of all, that will keep your pet away from potential fire hazards like the stove, and it also makes it easier for emergency responders to rescue your pet in the event of a house fire. It’s also a good idea to keep a pet carrier or leash in the area of your home where your pet stays while you’re away, so that it’s easier for firefighters to move your pet out of the home in the event of an emergency.
If you take these steps, the odds of your fur baby starting a house fire on accident are drastically reduced. However, there are some additional cautionary steps you can take to keep your pet safe from house fires.
Consider getting a monitored smoke alarm
If your pets are at home alone when a fire starts, they won’t be able to get out of the house without the help of emergency responders. That’s why many pet parents invest in monitored smoke alarms that alert a monitoring center whenever the alarm is triggered. A monitored smoke alarm can help the fire department or other emergency services workers arrive more quickly if there is a house fire. When it comes to your pets’ safety, every minute counts, and a monitored smoke alarm can save precious minutes in response time that may mean the difference between life and death for your furry companions.
Get a pet alert window decal
If you are not at home and there is a fire, emergency responders don’t necessarily know whether or not there are pets in the building that need to be rescued. You can solve this problem by getting a pet alert window decal, which is a card inside a clear sticky window that you can affix to your door. On the card, you can indicate how many pets are in the home so that emergency personnel know about your pets if they have to respond to a fire at your home. If you add another pet to your family or lose a pet to old age or illness, make sure you update your pet alert window decal so that if there’s every an emergency, your pets can be rescued from the home. You can pick up pet alert window decals from animal rescue organizations, pet stores and many other places, and it’s a really good way to reduce your pets’ risk of being injured or killed in a house fire.
Keeping your babies safe is simpler if you take precautionary measures before something happens. For more tips and advice on your pet’s health and well-being, check out our other blog posts.