Pets are part of our family, and we want to keep them safe from any danger. However, pets can also be curious and playful, which can sometimes lead them to cause or encounter fire hazards at home. According to the American Red Cross, an estimated 500,000 pets are affected annually by fires¹. Moreover, the National Fire Protection Association estimates that nearly 1,000 home fires each year are accidentally started by homeowners’ pets.
How can we prevent our pets from starting or getting hurt by fires, and what should we do in case of a fire emergency? In this article, we will share some tips and best practices on pet fire safety, and explain how fire blankets can help you and your pets escape safely.
- The best way to protect your pets from the effects of a fire is to include them in your family plan. This includes having their own disaster supplies kit, arranging a safe place for them to stay if you need to leave your home, and practicing your escape plan with them.
- To prevent your pets from starting fires, you should extinguish open flames, remove stove knobs or protect them with covers, invest in flameless candles, and secure young pets away from potential fire-starting hazards.
- To help firefighters rescue your pets, you should keep them near entrances when away from home, keep collars on them and leashes at the ready, and affix a pet alert window cling with the number of pets inside your house on a front window.
- Fire blankets are a useful tool for smothering small fires or wrapping around yourself or your pet to escape a fire. They are made of fire-resistant materials that can withstand high temperatures and prevent burns. You should keep a fire blanket in an accessible location and know how to use it properly.
How to Include Your Pets in Your Family Plan
The best way to protect your pets from the effects of a fire is to include them in your family plan. This means that you should prepare for their needs and safety before, during, and after a fire.
Here are some steps you can take to include your pets in your family plan:
- Have a disaster supplies kit for your pet. This kit should contain items such as food, water, bowls, medications, veterinary records, identification tags, carrier or leash, toys, and bedding. You should also have a first aid kit for your pet with items such as bandages, gauze, scissors, tweezers, antiseptic wipes, and gloves.
- Arrange a safe place for your pet to stay if you need to leave your home. This could be a friend’s or relative’s house, a pet-friendly hotel or shelter, or a boarding facility. You should also have a list of contact information for these places and keep it in your wallet or phone.
- Practice your escape plan with your pet. You should have at least two ways out of every room in your house and know where to meet outside. You should also train your pet to come to you when you call and follow you out of the house. You can use treats or toys to reward your pet for following your commands.
- In the event of a fire, if you must evacuate, the most important thing you can do to protect your pets is to evacuate them too. But remember: never delay escape or endanger yourself or your family to rescue a family pet.
Here is the second part of the article:
How to Prevent Your Pets from Starting Fires
Pets are curious and playful by nature, but sometimes they can accidentally start fires by knocking over candles, turning on stoves, or chewing on electrical cords. To prevent your pets from starting fires, you should take some precautions to eliminate or reduce these fire hazards at home.
Here are some tips on how to prevent your pets from starting fires:
- Extinguish open flames. Pets are attracted to bright lights and heat, so they may try to touch or play with candles, fireplaces, or cooking appliances. You should never leave your pets unattended around open flames, and make sure to put out any candles or fires before leaving the house or going to bed.
- Remove stove knobs or protect them with covers. Pets can accidentally turn on the stove by jumping on the counter or bumping into the knobs. This can create a fire hazard if there is anything flammable on or near the stove, such as food, paper towels, or oven mitts. You should remove the stove knobs or use knob covers when you are not cooking, and keep your pets away from the kitchen.
- Invest in flameless candles. Flameless candles are a safer alternative to traditional candles, as they do not have a real flame that can be knocked over or burned by your pets. They are battery-operated and have a realistic flickering effect that can create a cozy ambiance in your home. You can find flameless candles in various shapes, sizes, colors, and scents online or in stores.
- Secure young pets away from potential fire-starting hazards. Puppies and kittens are especially curious and playful, and they may chew on or play with anything they can find. This can include electrical cords, wires, outlets, batteries, matches, lighters, or other flammable items. You should keep these items out of reach of your young pets, and use a crate or a baby gate to confine them to a safe area when you are not around.
How to Help Firefighters Rescue Your Pets
In case of a fire emergency, you may not be able to find or rescue your pets yourself. Firefighters will do their best to save your pets, but they may not know how many pets you have or where they are located in your house. To help firefighters rescue your pets, you should provide them with some information and tools that can make their job easier and faster.
- Keep your pets near entrances when away from home. Firefighters typically check near the front door for people and pets when they enter a burning house. If you keep your pets near the entrance when you are not home, they will have a better chance of being found and rescued by firefighters.
- Keep collars on your pets and leashes at the ready. Firefighters may need to use a leash or a carrier to transport your pets safely out of the house. If your pets have collars with identification tags, it will also help firefighters identify them and contact you if they are taken to a shelter or a veterinary clinic.
- Affix a pet alert window cling with the number of pets inside your house on a front window. A pet alert window cling is a sticker that you can place on a window near the entrance of your house. It tells firefighters how many and what kind of pets you have in your house, and whether they are inside or outside. You can get a free pet alert window cling from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) by filling out an online form.
How Fire Blankets Can Help You and Your Pets Escape Safely
A fire blanket is a useful tool for smothering small fires or wrapping around yourself or your pet to escape a fire. It is made of fire-resistant materials such as fiberglass, wool, or cotton that can withstand high temperatures and prevent burns. A fire blanket can also protect you and your pet from smoke inhalation by creating an air layer between the blanket and your face.
Here are some benefits of using a fire blanket for yourself and your pet:
- A fire blanket can extinguish small fires quickly and easily. If you encounter a small fire that is not spreading rapidly, such as a grease fire in the kitchen or an electrical fire in the living room, you can use a fire blanket to put it out. You just need to turn off the heat source if possible, pull the fire blanket out of its container, hold it by the corners with both hands and place it over the fire gently without throwing it. You should leave the fire blanket on until the fire is completely out.
- A fire blanket can help you and your pet escape from a larger fire safely. If you encounter a larger fire that is blocking your exit or spreading rapidly, you can use a fire blanket to protect yourself and your pet from the flames and smoke. You just need to get the fire blanket with water if possible, wrap it around yourself or your pet tightly, leaving only a small opening for your eyes, nose, and mouth, and crawl or run to the nearest exit. You should avoid opening doors that are hot or have smoke coming out of them, and stay low to the ground to avoid breathing in smoke.
- A fire blanket can be stored and used easily. A fire blanket is lightweight and compact, and it can be stored in an accessible location such as the kitchen, the bedroom, or the car. It does not require any maintenance or expiration date, and it can be used multiple times if it is not damaged. It also does not create any mess or damage to the surrounding area when used, unlike water or fire extinguishers.
To use a fire blanket effectively, you should follow these steps:
- Keep a fire blanket in an accessible location and know how to use it properly. You should read the instructions on the fire blanket package and practice using it before you need it. You should also teach your family members and your pet how to use it if possible.
- Call 911 or your local emergency number as soon as you encounter a fire. You should not try to fight a fire by yourself unless it is very small and contained. You should also not waste time trying to save your belongings or valuables. Your priority should be to get yourself and your pet out of the house safely.
- Check yourself and your pet for any injuries after escaping a fire. You should look for any signs of burns, smoke inhalation, or shock on yourself and your pet. You should also seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if you do not see any visible injuries.
Pets are our loyal companions and beloved family members, and we want to keep them safe from any harm. Fire is one of the most common and dangerous hazards that can threaten our pets’ lives and well-being. By following the tips and best practices on pet fire safety that we shared in this article, you can prevent your pets from starting or getting hurt by fires, and prepare for what to do in case of a fire emergency. You can also use a fire blanket as a helpful tool to smother small fires or protect yourself and your pet from larger fires. By doing so, you can ensure that you and your pets can enjoy a happy and healthy life together.