Firefighters around the country frequently visit elementary schools to promote fire safety and make youngsters aware of hazards in the home. That’s all well and good, but about the pets in our home?
According to data released in 2010 by the National Fire Protection Association, pets are responsible for starting nearly 1,000 fires each year.
There are ways to maximize the safety of your pet and minimize the likelihood of a fire. A few simple actions can go a long way in protecting your family and your pets from a fire disaster.
If you like burning candles indoors, consider using flameless ones. These candles can be found in almost any department store and they are much safer because they use a light bulb rather than an open flame to make light. Many fires are started because a curious pet knocks over a burning candle.
Take special care with stoves. The National Fire Protection Association warns that stoves are the number one piece household appliance involved in house fires.
Always extinguish open flames if you are not there. Dogs are sometimes curious and can quickly become bored. The smell of last night’s spilled gravy on the stove top is an open invitation to a dog.
It is a good idea to remove stove knobs when you leave the home. This makes it harder for a dog to turn a stove on. In the case of gas stoves, a slight turn of the knob can quickly fill your home with explosive gas.
Care also needs to be taken outdoors. For example, do not use a glass water bowl outdoors on a wooden deck. There have been cases where the sun’s rays that filtered through the glass have caused the deck to become hot enough to start a fire. It is easy to eliminate this danger. Simply use stainless steel or ceramic bowls.
If you own a pet, contact your local fire company for pet alert stickers that can be fixed to a window in your home. Firefighters are trained to look for these and act accordingly. Thus, it is important that you keep your dog in an area near an entrance where firefighters can easily find them. Also, remember to update the stickers so that the correct information is posted. If your sticker lists one dog but you have two, firefighters will think their job is done once they rescue one dog. They will not know the second dog is in the house.
You should also keep pet collars and leashes at the ready. Should you need to quickly evacuate your home in a fire emergency, you will need to leash your dog so that he or she does not get in the way of the firefighters’ efforts.
When leaving dogs at home – especially curious young puppies – make sure there are no fire-starting hazards around. Don’t allow extension cords to dangle in a tantalizing manner. Don’t let food stand on the stove. Consider crating the dog or securing it in a room where firefighters can easily get to the dog.
Fire alarms can save your pet’s life if you are at home when it goes off. What about the times when you are not home? Your dog cannot call 911 and report a fire. There are smoke detectors that can be connected to a monitoring center. In the event of a fire, the center will immediately contact the fire company.
These few simple tips can go a long way in protecting your dog from fire hazards.