According to recent statistics 40,000 pets are killed in fires annually, most of them in residential fires. It is also reported that over 1000 fires a year are accidentally started by a pet. Here are a few tips to protect your family in the event of a fire in your home, and for preventing your dog from accidentally starting one.
Safe-proofing stoves & ovens: Make sure stove knobs are out of reach of your dog. If you are leaving your dog at home alone, consider locking your dog out of the kitchen or protect the knobs with covers or remove them. Be sure not to leave food on your stove top when you are not around as it will attract a curious dog. The National Fire Protection Association indicates that stove or cook tops are the number one piece of equipment involved in pets starting a fire.
Extinguish open flames: Do not leave your dog unattended around candles, fireplaces or cooking appliances. Candles are the number one culprit, as they are easily knocked over by a wagging tail. Be sure to extinguish any open flame prior to bedtime or leaving your dog home alone.
Keep pets away from heat sources that can start a fire: Hot hair dryers, irons, portable heaters, barbeques, campfires and backyard grills (such as hibachis) can easily be knocked over by your dog and burn them or start a fire. Installing a barrier in front of open heat or fire sources is recommended.
Safeproof electrical cords: Make sure cords are either out of reach to your dogs, safeproofed, or unplug them when the electrical device is not in use. Some dogs, especially puppies, like to nibble on electrical cords, which can result in them burning themselves or getting electricuted.
Do not leave glass or metal water bowls outside on sunny days: Much like a magnifying lens, the sun will heat up the water bowl and can ignite dry wooden decks or debris. It is safer to use a ceramic or plastic bowl.
Tips For Pet Safety in Case of a Fire
Make sure your fire detection system works: For the safety of the entire family, regularly check your smoke detectors and fire alarms are functioning normally.
Post up a Pet Alert window cling or sign: Attach one to your front window and near entrance ways of your home so that fire fighters will know there are pets inside. Write down the number of each type of pet inside. Keep collars and leashes easily accessible and in an obvious location (such as near entrances) in case firefighters need to rescue your pet, or in case you have to exit with your pets quickly.
Do you have any tips or stories to share with us? Be sure to comment below.
American Kennel Club® - 'National Pet Fire Safety Day' Prevention Tips to Keep Pets from Starting Home Fires. July 15, 2011.
Ottawa Humane Society - Safeguard your pets against fire. Fire Prevention Tips for You and Your Pet.
Ann Hohenhaus, DVM, DACVIM for WebMD - National Pet Fire Safety Day. July 15, 2011
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