Animal Celebration Days: July 15th National Pet Fire Safety Day

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Your pet obviously isn’t roaming around the house looking for ways to start fires, but there are several ways you could unknowingly be setting up your pet for disaster. National Pet Fire Safety Day was established by the AKC in 2007. In honor of National Pet Fire Safety Day, why not implement some simple safety precautions that could save your pet’s life?

According to the United States Fire Administration, around half a million pets are affected by fires every year. While the phrase, “My dog started a fire,” might seem laughable, around 1,000 house fires annually are started by our furry companions.

Prevent Your Pet From Starting a Fire

There are several ways that you can keep your pet from starting a fire in your home. The following tips will help you avoid this unfortunate situation:

  • Don’t leave open flames unattended. Whether you are leaving the house or just leaving the room, having your pet unattended around an open flame is never a good idea. Curious pets will often want to investigate burning candles, fireplaces, and even cooking appliances. Before you leave a room, remember to thoroughly extinguish any flame.
  • Use flameless candles. Burning candles around your pets can be dangerous even when you’re there to supervise them. Cats especially have a tendency to be dangerous around candles because of their wandering tails. Battery operated flameless candles can provide a safer alternative.
  • Pet-proof your home. Hazards such as easily accessible burner knobs on your stove or loose wires around the home can be potential fire starters when your pet is involved. Spend some time pet-proofing your home and remove stove knobs if your dog is able to reach them.
  • Replace glass water bowls. Just as a fire can be started with a magnifying glass, a glass water bowl on a wooden deck can generate enough heat to ignite a flame. Consider swapping out any glass bowls with stainless steel or ceramic.

Establish a Plan

To adequately protect your pet from fire, make sure you include them in your household’s disaster preparedness plan. Some things to consider when developing your plan:

  • Know your pet. In the event of a fire, your pet is likely to run to its favorite hiding spot. Each pet should be assigned to a designated household member that will be responsible for it in the case of an emergency. An adult family member, that knows the pet well and will know where to look for it, could save its life.
  • Keep pets near an entrance. When leaving your animals home alone, it’s best to leave them in a room with an outdoor entrance. In the case of a fire, this will make it much easier for emergency responders to quickly locate your pet.
  • Use a Pet Alert window cling. These free clings, available from ASPCA, alert rescue workers to pets that could be inside. Fill out your information and then affix the cling to a visible window next to your front entryway.
  • Plan and practice an escape route. Plot out a good escape route and have collars and leashes kept in a handy location so you can quickly and easily get your pet to safety. It’s also a good idea to practice from time to time, in order to familiarize your pet with the process.
  • Minimizing fire hazards and making a basic plan in the event of an emergency are simple steps you can take to ensure your pet’s safety. For National Pet Fire Safety Day, raise awareness by encouraging your family and friends to participate in keeping their pets safe from fire.

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