If you follow the popular TV show, This is Us, when you think of fire, you can’t help but think of the flames that overtook the family’s house, and ultimately led to one of the main character’s untimely death. The family got out of the house in time, but Jack went back in to rescue the dog, and then the family photo album. It’s probably pretty easy to think, “Why did he go back in!?” But chances are, many of us would do just about anything for our four-legged best friend. It is important to have a plan, so that in the event of a fire, you won’t find yourself in a difficult situation. In honor of National Pet Fire Safety Day, observed on July 15, here are 5 things you can do to make sure you are prepared for a fire.
- PLAN what you will do in the event of a fire. If you have a plan, and your pet is included in it, you will be much less likely to panic.
- MAP out an escape route and practice it with all of your family members, including your pets. Make sure your dog knows the command “come,” or some version of it. See our post, Essential Cues to Teach Your Dog, for ways to teach your dog to come when you call, along with two other potentially life saving cues.
- PREVENT a fire when you are away from home. According to The American Red Cross, stoves and cooktops are the number one pieces of equipment involved in a pet starting a fire. Remove stove knobs, or make sure your pet is secured in a place where he cannot access the stove, like in a crate or behind a gate. It is especially important to secure young pets, whose curiosity can often get them into trouble. Use flameless candles--cats are notorious for knocking over candles with their tails.
- HELP firefighters help you. In the June 2018 Real Simple feature, The Vets Will See You Now, Veterinarian Gayle O’Konski recommends affixing a window cling (Imagine This Company decal, $8 for 2) to your windows to let firefighters know how many pets and what kind are in house in case of a fire when you are away. She also recommends your pets are crate-trained and micro-chipped in case of an evacuation. Try to keep your pets near entrances when you are away, and leave collars and leashes in plain sight in case firefighters need them to help rescue your pet.
- PREPARE a disaster kit. If you do have to evacuate your home, you’re going to need pet food, water bowls, and any medication your pet takes. Pack a disaster kit for your pets and keep it in an easily accessible place, like your garage or basement. See this post, National Disaster Preparedness Month, for ideas on what to have on hand.
Obviously we cannot be prepared for everything life throws at us. But, thinking ahead and being prepared can certainly help us think more clearly in the event of a fire emergency. Go ahead, map your escape route, order your window clings, and assemble your pet disaster kit. Prepare for pet health emergencies by enrolling in pet insurance!