Vet Connect: Pet Fire Safety

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You may be surprised to learn that 500,000 pets are affected yearly by home fires, with 1,000 of those accidentally being caused by the family pet. The American Kennel Club® (AKC®) and ADT Security Services have joined forces to spread awareness about how pets can start home fires (but, more importantly, how to prevent them) with the 3rd annual National Pet Fire Safety Day on July 15.

Being a responsible pet owner is keeping pets safe and planning for unexpected emergencies. AKC® spokesperson Lisa Peterson suggests, “Pet-proofing the home, developing pet-friendly escape routes, and alerting rescuers of your pet’s presence with ‘window clings’ is the best way to keep your four-legged family member from harm.”

AKC® and ADT offer the following tips to educate pet owners on how to prevent your beloved pet from starting a fire, as well as how to keep your pets safe.

“National Pet Fire Safety Day” Tips to Keep Pets Safe from House Fires:

Extinguish Open Flames – Pets are generally curious and will investigate cooking appliances, candles, or even a fire in your fireplace. Ensure your pet is not left unattended around an open flame, and make sure to thoroughly extinguish any open flame before leaving your home. Invest in flameless candles that contain a light bulb rather than an open flame, and take the danger out of your pet knocking over a candle. Cats are notorious for starting fires when their tails turn over lit candles.

Pet Proof the Home – Take a walk around your home and look for areas where pets might start fires inadvertently, such as the stove knobs, loose wires, and other potential hazards. Be sure to remove stove knobs or protect them with covers before leaving the house. According to the National Fire Protection Association, a stove or cook top is the number one piece of equipment involved in your pet starting a fire.

Secure Young Pets – Especially with young puppies, keep them confined away from potential fire-starting hazards when you are away from home.

Keep Pets Near Entrances – When leaving pets home alone, keep them in areas or rooms near entrances where firefighters can easily find them.

Practicing Escape Routes with Pets – Keep collars and leashes at the ready in case you have to evacuate quickly with your pet or firefighters need to rescue your pet.

Since Pets Left Alone Can’t Escape a Burning Home – Use monitored smoke detectors which are connected to a monitoring center, providing an added layer of protection beyond battery-operated smoke alarms.

Affix a Pet Alert Window Cling – Write down the number of pets inside your house and attach the static cling to a front window. This critical information saves rescuers time when locating your pets. You can obtain a free window cling by checking with your local fire department or at AKC® Responsible Dog Ownership Days events. Details are available at www.akc.org.

Keep Your Information Updated – Firefighters are familiar with pet alert window clings, so keep the number of pets listed on them updated. Knowing the accurate number of pets in the house aids rescuers in finding all your pets.

Making sure your pet has a microchip can also be advantageous if your pet happens to escape during the event. Contact your local veterinarian about having this done.

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