For most pet owners, a house fire is our worst nightmare – watching first responders do their best to save our precious but helpless companions as smoke billows out the windows.
Big or small, house fires occur every 83 seconds in North America, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Of those house fires, approximately 500,000 affect pets, killing nearly 40,000 animals per year.
This begs the question, are you doing everything you can to prepare for an emergency? Today, on Pet Fire Safety Day, we want to share some tips on how to give your pets the best chance of safely escaping a house fire.
Practice makes perfect
One of the best ways to ensure the safety of every being in your home is to create an exit plan BEFORE an emergency takes place. Routinely practice your escape route with your pets, starting from their most common resting place in the house. The more comfortable your animals are with the plan, the easier it will be to leave together if and when you need to.
Take advantage of free or affordable resources
Some humane societies and SPCAs in Canada offer window decals or wallet cards for free. Fill out the decal or wallet card, leaving the decal in the front window of your home and the wallet card on your person. Update these as needed. They help emergency personnel to identify the number, type and location of pets in your home.
Help emergency personnel help you
When leaving pets alone at home, ensure that they are housed near an exit, whether it be a window or door. The closer pets are to an exit, the easier they are to evacuate. In addition, ensure that your pet is collared and that leashes or leads are located nearby your pets to help emergency personnel safely rescue pets from your home.
Have a plan for what happens next
Most people think of an emergency plan as something that exists to simply carry you through a moment of crisis or evacuation, but you may not be able to return for weeks or months if your home has suffered significant damage.
To ensure you’re not left in a lurch, compile a list of hotels or other accommodations in your area that are pet-friendly, or enlist the help of a trusted person (like a close friend or family member) outside your region who could help you and your pet should there be no suitable, pet-friendly accommodations in your area – or should you need special housing for larger animals.
Be at the ready
Keep a pet emergency kit in an easily accessible place. Include your veterinarian’s contact information, a copy of your pet’s medical and vaccination records, any medication your pet might need, extra collars, harnesses and leashes, as well as pet first aid supplies. Check to see if you can purchase a pet first aid kit from your local humane society or SPCA to ensure you have all the supplies you will need.
Remember! A well-prepared and well-executed emergency plan could save you and your pets’ lives during a house fire and keep the whole family safe and comfortable after an evacuation.