Fires can happen unexpectedly and can be the result of any number of freak circumstances in the home. For instance, a knocked over candle could spread it’s flame to your couch, or to the drapes before you even realize. If there is open flame involved, you must be extra vigilant, especially when your household has pets who don’t understand the potential dangers of fire. Here are a few things you can do to help keep your home, and your pet safe from fire hazards.
Never leave an open flame unattended.
If you like to burn candles during the fall and winter season, you need to pay extra close attention to both your pet and the candle at all times. Never leave your pet alone in a room where you’ve lit a candle as many animals may be interested in the flickering of the candle’s flame and try to investigate, getting badly burned in the process. it is best to minimize your pet’s exposure to sources of fire. Put any lit candles up high to make it harder for pets to get to them, as lighter candles can easily be knocked over by an errant swipe from a pet’s tail. A fallen candle could start a fire in your house.
You might consider substituting a traditional candle with an electronic flameless candle if you are unable to keep your pets away from the flame.
Secure loose wires.
Some pets have the annoying, and frustrating habit of chewing on wires, which can damage the casing of the wire, and create fire hazards. Your pet may do this because the animal may think the wire is a chew toy for them to play with. It is good practice to hide wiring, and keep them away from your pet so that they do not have the opportunity to chew on the wires when you may not be looking.
Use safety knobs for your stove.
Gas stoves can also be fire hazards when your pets are involved. If your pet bumps into the knobs while you are out of the kitchen, or worse out of the house, the stove could be turned on and begin leaking gas into your house. You can circumvent this danger by purchasing child proof safety covers for your stove knobs.
Always make sure your smoke detectors work.
While this has little to do with your pets in the house, you should always make sure that your smoke detectors are in working order, and have good batteries in case of an emergency.
Next, let’s go over some safety habits that pet owners like yourself should be practicing in the home in case there is a fire.
First, make sure your pet’s ID tags are up to date with your proper contact information. In the event of a fire your pet might become scared and confused and get away from you as you try to escape your house. Having up to date tags will help people find you, and get your pet back to you safely.
You can also attach a note, or a card to the inside of your window so that first responders know there is an animal present in the house and to be on the lookout for them in the event that you must leave your house quickly, without being able to retrieve your pet. These weatherproof decals have a sturdy adhesive that provides a secure seal without damaging windows or glass. Easily write on the sticker to provide the necessary information for each of your pets. The retail price for these stickers is $4.99.
It is also a good habit to keep your pet’s paperwork, and vet’s emergency contact information in a safe place where it can easily be grabbed on the way out the door. If your animal is injured from a fire, or during your escape you may have to quickly get them attention and will not have time to go scrambling around the house to find this information.
Also try to keep track of the places where your pet might go to hide during times of stress. During a fire they may become confused or over excited and go hide in the house. You will not have time to tear the house apart looking for them, so it is best to memorize the spots they like so that you can quickly go for them if a fire happens.
With your family, you should set a destination outside of the home that can serve as a meeting spot in the event that you should get separated. Make this place far enough away from your home that you are able to remain safe should a fire suddenly spread, but close enough so that you are able to find the members of your family, and remain close by for when the fire department arrives.
On the way out the door, make sure to grab leashes and harnesses for your animal as the excitement and confusion of escaping from a burning house might cause them to bolt, and again you will not have time to return to your house to get a leash, or go looking for one. You want to be prepared in case something happens suddenly. Keep your pet carriers by the door, in the garage, or somewhere else that you can easily access them during a fire.
Finally, you must never re-enter a building that has become engulfed in flames. Hopefully all of the aforementioned tactics will help you to keep yourself and your dog or cat safe should an emergency situation arrive, but if for some reason you are unable to locate the animal before it is time to leave the house for good, you must leave it up to the firefighters to save your animal if they can. Never run back into a building that is on fire, even if that means you are unable to save your pet.
Hopefully you will never have to experience your house catching fire, and by learning and practicing this information you will be able to take all the necessary steps to protect your family and your pets. Fires can be confusing for everyone involved so do what is needed to prepare yourself, and your pets for the possibility that one day you may have to experience a disaster such as this and be ready when it comes.