According to the National Fire Protection Association and the American Kennel Club, each year nearly 1,000 accidental house fires are caused by pets and perhaps as many as 500,000 pets are affected by fires in the home.
These alarming statistics might make you worry about how you can keep your pet and your home safe from fire, especially when you are not there to shoo Fido or Kitty away from a potentially dangerous situation.
Here are some pointers to help make your home safer for your pet.
Remove stove knobs or use covers that lock knobs in place. Your dog or cat may be attracted by something atop the stove. Jumping up, the pet may nudge the stove’s knob and turn it just enough to set off the burner. If anything passes into that gas flame or onto the heated burner’s surface, whether paper, kitchen towel, potholder or paw, it could ignite and start a fire in the kitchen. Knob covers are sold four or five in a pack for $10.00; when mounted on the stove, adults can continue to use the knob as usual. The knob covers have the added feature of being child-proof.
Watch open flames and candles. Extinguish all fires in fireplaces and candle flames when you leave the room. Flameless candles, also known as electric candles, use a light bulb instead of a burning wick and flame. This eliminates the risk that a cat, eager to walk on a table, might tip over a lit candle with a paw or tail.
Pet-proof your home. Similar to child-proofing, go through every room of your home with an eye to notice any loose wires or other potential hazards where a playful pet might accidentally start a fire.
Put a pet rescue fire safety sticker on your door and/or window. Fire fighters will see the sticker, note the presence of a pet and look for the number of animals written on the pet alert. A package of two costs $2.00 at most pet stores; a static cling pet alert may also be obtained for free through the National Volunteer Fire Council, a local chapter of the Humane Society of the United States or from ADT Security Services.
Keep your pet in a room near the front door when you are out. In the event of a fire, make it easy for firefighters to find and rescue your dog or cat. Keep your dog’s leash nearby, so the firefighter can quickly exit with your pet.
No one plans to be in a fire. Following these recommendations will help you minimize the risk of fire for your family and your pet, and also ensure the safety of your cat or dog when you cannot be there to help them. The next blog post, Prepare Your Fido and Kitty When You Escape from a Fire, will provide additional guidance in the awful event of a home fire.