July 15th is Pet Fire Safety Day, and we would like to share some tips to keep you and your four-legged family members safe. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), approximately 500,000 pets are affected by fires every year; and, the NFPA estimates that 500 to 1,000 of those fires are accidently started by pets. Make your home as safe as possible for you and your pet by taking the first step: prevention:

  • Protect/Remove Stove Knobs – National Fire Protection Association found the leading reason behind pet-caused house fires is accidentally turning on stove knobs. Prevent your pet from unintentionally triggering a house fire by removing stove knobs or using a protective cover.
  • Avoid Open Flames –  Never leave your pet unattended around an open flame and make sure sources of fire are completely extinguished. Animals are curious creatures, so keep them away from candles, lanterns, space heaters, stoves, and open fires like your fireplace or BBQ. Your pet simply knocking into something can create a potential fire hazard, and open flames and unprotected heat sources can potentially cause painful injuries to your pet. Go ahead and invest in some flameless candles.
  • Pet-Proof Areas of Your Home – Secure electrical wires and other potential hazards. If you can’t pet-proof your entire home, consider crate training or confine your pet to a pet-proof room while you’re gone. Make sure this pet-safe room is also easily accessible.
  • Water Bowls on Wooden Decks – The American Kennel Club® (AKC®) and ADT Security Services recommends using a plastic or metal bowl instead of glass. Glass can magnify the sun’s rays which could ignite untreated wood.

However, no matter how careful we are, accidents can still happen. Use the following tips to be prepared should a fire occur:

  • Affix a Pet Alert Window Cling – These window decals alert firefighters to any pets living in the home. Place pet alerts near an entrance where they can easily be seen. Pet alert window stickers are available for free online Here.
  • Smoke alarms – Have working smoke alarms on each level of your home and test them once a month.
  • Keep leashes by the door – Make sure leashes and carriers are easily accessible in case you need to evacuate your home in a hurry. Having leashes on hand is also helpful if firefighters need to rescue your pet.
  • Create an all-inclusive evacuation plan – Be familiar with your pet’s hiding spots and include your pet when practicing fire drills so your pet is familiar with the routine.
  • Carrier training – Getting a cat into a carrier can be a challenge. Practice giving your cat wet food or a special treat in their carrier, giving your cat a positive association with that space. You can even try clicker training to signal your cat to get into the carrier. Practicing this will make a stressful situation like evacuating that much easier.

Source:  Virginia Beach Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, https://vbspca.com/july-15th-is-pet-fire-safety-day/