According to the United States Fire Administration, about 500,000 pets are affected by home fires each year, with about 1,000 of them accidentally started by pets themselves. Due to the numerous sources that can contribute to this natural disaster, it is extremely important to realize the risks you are taking by leaving your pets at home with the possibility of starting a fire. While they should be considered as members of the family, their safety should be regarded just as highly as that of everyone else.
Practicing Pet Fire Safety
Include pets in family fire escape plan
When you establish and practice your fire escape plan, make sure they are included in every step. Also remember that they will become terrified as they will not understand what is happening during the fire. It is your job to make them feel as comforted and safe as possible in the event that it does happen. You can also purchase a disaster supplies kit online as well as finding a safe place for them to live temporarily if you have to live separately for a while.
Train them properly
Pets who are trained to come when you call will save precious time during an emergency situation. Make sure they know their commands to come, sit, stay, and others, as needed. You may even want to practice these commands with distractions, such as loud noises, different environments, and around different people. The goal is for them to stay focused.
If you have to evacuate in the event of a disaster, make sure you know where they are at all times and bring them with you before abandoning the property (this is why training them to come when called is imperative). However, you must never endanger yourself or family to save a pet, no matter how hard the decision can be.
Keep Pets Near the Entrances
A pet that is kept close to the door will be easy to evacuate during an emergency. Also, make sure that they are wearing a collar or harness to guide them during the evacuation. Finally, keep a spare leash hanging near the entrance for quick and easy access when you need to escort them out.
Secure Small and Young Pets
Pets that are small and/or young are often afraid of many things, such as large animals, loud noises, and fast movements. When they are kept in a crate, they feel protected and secure. When you need to leave them, keeping them confined within a crate will provide them with a sense of security and prevent them from getting into trouble.
Hang up a Window Cling Alert
If there ever were an emergency within your home, allowing emergency services to know that you have pets inside a significant amount time when entering to find them. Make sure to keep it updated at all times.
While leaving a pet at home with fire hazards is already dangerous, not having an escape route for them can be lethal. To ensure their safety and that of your property, install monitored smoke monitors that will alert emergency responders to send for help in the event of a fire. These will provide extra protection for your pets beyond normal smoke alarms.
Removing Fire Hazards for Pets
Use flameless candles
While they may not carry the amazing scent that real candles do, those that are flameless are harmless to use and will certainly not cause a fire when knocked over. This will be most beneficial for cats to prevent their tails from severe burns when waved over lit candles.
Do not use glass water bowls on wooden decks
You may not realize it, but leaving a glass bowl on a wooden deck on a hot summer day can cause a catastrophic fire. When the sun’s rays are filtered through the glass, the water is heated enough to ignite the wooden deck. It’s best to use ceramic or stainless steel bowls, anyway; they are also easier to wash and are not as heavy.
Securing stove knobs
Paws accidentally turning stove knobs is the number one fire hazard for pets. They will usually smell leftovers, treats, or other food on the stove, jumping up, and turning the knobs to turn on the gas. The food is then ignited and the entire property can be filled with smoke within minutes – another good idea to invest in smoke alarm monitoring systems mentioned previously.
Supervise all open flames
While fires are certainly useful for staying warm, cooking, and social activities, they can be lethal if not supervised around children and pets. Dogs and cats will be curious about anything that moves by itself, including cooking appliances, fires in fireplaces, and lit candles. Make sure that all candles are extinguished properly after using them and use your fireplace safely.
While there are many steps you can take to protect your furry family members from starting a fire, it is impossible to guarantee that it will never happen. Knowing exactly who to contact in the event of an emergency can save precious time when saving your loved ones and belongings. ServiceMaster specializes in disaster restoration services that includes emergency fire damage restoration, and will arrive on your property within 2 hours of your first call to start the recovery process. Their technicians are trained and have years of experience to fully remove all byproducts produced by the flames to return your home or building to its original condition.