How to rock pet fire safety like a kick-ass dog parent.
National Pet Fire Safety Day is just around the corner (July 15th), and it’s time for all dog parents to ensure everyone is ready and prepared in the event of a fire!
A rookie mistake many dog parents make is not considering what to do in case of a fire.
No one ever wants to think of a fire breaking out at home, but sadly it’s a disaster that can happen to anyone.
As a dog mom, there were many times before that I didn’t consider a fire emergency, but in recent years, I have learned that every member of my household must be ready, including my dogs.
Recently there have been many local news stories of families losing their homes during a fire; sadly, some have also lost their pets. Although, as pet parents, we may not be able to save all our pets during a fire, we can take responsibility and take all necessary precautions.
In this post, you will learn how to pet-proof your home and what actions to take in case of a fire to ensure the safest and best outcome for your dogs.
This blog is about pet fire safety.
Pet Fire Safety Awareness
Pet Proof Your Home.
According to the National Fire Prevention Association, nearly 1000 fires at home are started by a family’s pet.
Believe it or not, many fires get started by pets who accidentally turn on a stove by jumping up or who have learned to turn the knobs.
Pet proofing stove tops are more for pet parents who have gas stovetops, Hawai’i homes tend to have electric stoves due to Hawai’i not having natural gas lines, but it’s still essential to ensure all your stoves are pet-proof.
Make sure no loose wires or power cords are hanging or lying around that your pets may chew on.
This is essential if you have a naughty puppy who loves to chew on everything and anything.
Do not leave any candles on in the house that your pet may accidentally knock over.
Although cats are infamous for knocking things over because they can, dogs are pretty good at accidentally bumping into tables or jumping on countertops and could easily knock a lit candle over.
Use Pet Alert Signs and Stickers.
Pet fire safety alert signs are a great addition to add to your home to let firefighters know that there are pets inside your home that may need help.
Place these signs near entrances or windows to alert firefighters that there is a pet inside and how many pets you have.
These help emergency personnel look for your pets and give your pet a chance to be saved too.
It’s important that during a fire, first responders don’t always know that you have pets, more so when no one is around to let them know.
Pet alert stickers can also be found at your local Petco.
Keep Pets Where They Can Easily Be Found.
If you leave your dog in a crate or kennel when you’re out and about, consider placing them where they can be easily found if a fire breaks out.
Stickers can give firefighters a heads up that pets are inside, but during a fire, when time is of the essence, firefighters don’t have time to look around for your pets.
Place your pet’s kennel, crate, or pen in an area that emergency personnel can easily see and get to.
Don’t leave your pet behind a closed door or anywhere that may be hard to access.
Ensure your dog has the best chance to be seen and rescued by any first responder.
Check all Smoke Detectors and Fire Extinguishers.
Have you tested your smoke detectors lately?
Here’s a recent fun fact I didn’t know about, smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years.
Go around your home and ensure all smoke detectors are clean, have a good working battery, and actually work.
Remember, during a fire, you want your smoke detectors to alert you and your family to get out of the house as soon as possible.
If you have a small disposable fire extinguisher at home, it should be replaced every 10-12 years.
Although you may have a fire extinguisher, it’s essential to know how to use it.
Take the time to look over the directions to familiarize yourself with how to use your fire extinguisher.
The last thing you want to do is to have to stop and read directions when you need to put out a fire at home.
Know Where Your Pet Likes to Hide.
When panic sets in during an emergency or the sound of a smoke detector, pets are known to run and hide in their favorite safety spot.
However, do you know where your pet’s go-to hiding spot is?
During a fire, time is of the essence to evacuate.
Ensure you know where your pet is most likely to be hiding so you can get to them and safely evacuate together.
Have a Dog Leash Ready.
Always have an extra leash by your exits.
If you can’t get to your daily dog leash, it’s always a good idea to have spare leashes for quick emergency evacuations.
You want to be sure to control your dog and escort your dog outside quickly.
This will also ensure your dog stays with you and makes it less likely for them to run away or get lost in the chaos of a fire evacuation.
Create a Pet Fire Evacuation Plan.
Have you ever considered how you can get out of your home during a fire? How would you get out if a fire breaks out in the front of the house?
What if you live in a high-rise apartment or condo, and your emergency exit is blocked by fire?
What if you live in a two-story home with a fire on the first floor?
In an emergency fire evacuation, it’s crucial to know your escape routes so you and your pets can get out of danger as fast as possible.
According to the American Red Cross, in a fire emergency, you have about a two-minute time frame to evacuate your home. This is not the time to figure out how or where to evacuate.
Make a fire safety pet evacuation plan attack.
Better Cities for Pets recommends creating a plan to get out of each room in at least two different ways.
Know where to find any leashes, harnesses, or collars that you can quickly get on your dog and get out.
If you live in a two-home or a high rise, consider how you evacuate your pets from above ground level.
Let’s face it, you might not be able to carry your dog for several reasons, but you should have a plan to evacuate your pet safely if you can.
There are dog fire escape harnesses available like the ISOP Fire Evacuation Device for Pets.
This soft bag allows you to place your pet inside, carry them out on your back like a backpack, or lower them to safety.
If you live in a high-rise apartment or condo, know exactly where your nearest emergency exit is and where the second emergency exit is located.
Why should you know two, you may be wondering? If you live in a building with many people, the chaos of a fire will have them rushing all to one exit.
No one’s fault; it’s just instinct to do so.
However, having a backup exit increases your chances of getting out of the building safely and quickly with your pet.
Up-to-date Pet Identification & Microchips.
If your pet runs away during a fire emergency, ensure their identification tags have updated contact information and your pet is microchipped.
Pets are likely to run away from dangerous situations, and you never know where they may end up, so you want to be sure they are easily identified and can get back home as soon as possible.
Get Your Pet Evaluated by a Veterinarian.
If your pet has been involved in a fire, they most likely have inhaled the flames’ toxic fumes known as smoke inhalation.
Smoke inhalation is a serious medical situation for humans and pets, and immediate action is needed.
The fumes from fire contain chemicals like carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and cyanide which are highly poisonous to pets.
According to Aspen Grove Veterinary Care, any pet suffering from smoke inhalation is at significant risk of sustaining severe injuries to their lungs, burnt airways, and dying.
Some signs and symptoms of smoke inhalation for pets include but are not limited to:
- Severe Coughing
- Gagging and/or Vomiting
- Red and/or Swollen Eyes
- Open Mouth Breathing
- Foaming at the mouth
- Bright Red, Blue, or Pale Gums
- Respiratory distress and/or difficulty breathing
The first course of action is to get oxygen to your pet through an oxygen mask to reduce their risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
First responders are good about providing oxygen for pets as many want to help animals in distress.
However, never expect nor demand a first responder to provide oxygen to help your pet.
Although your dog may seem ok, smoke inhalation signs and symptoms may not begin to present until a few hours have passed.
Don’t wait until your dog shows the warning signs of smoke inhalation.
Get your pet to the nearest emergency vet as soon as possible so the staff can carefully evaluate and provide the necessary medical treatment before your dog suffers a severe pet medical emergency.
One never wants to think about potential dangerous emergencies like fires happening to them, but we should always be prepared not only for ourselves but also for our pets.