July 15 is National Pet Fire Safety Day. Many people think about first aid for their pets but not about fire safety. Did you know that nearly 1,000 house fires each year are accidentally started by pets? In addition, an estimated 500,000 pets are affected by home fires every year. Help keep your pet safe with tips from the National Volunteer Fire Council:
Prevent Fires from Starting
- Never leave your pet unattended around candles, fireplaces or cooking appliances. Extinguish all open flames before leaving your home. Consider switching to flameless candles.
- Cover the knobs on your stove. Stoves are the number one source of home fires started by pets.
- Use stainless steel or ceramic for water bowls on your wooden deck. Sunlight passing through glass and water can heat things up enough to ignite boards underneath.
- Secure wires and cords, which can look like toys, especially to cats. Chewing can cause a fire, severe burns or electrocution.
- When you're away, use baby gates or crates to keep pets away from fire-starting hazards.
Make Pet Fire Rescues Easier
- Use a static cling Pet Alert Decal to provide rescuers with critical information. Write the number of pets in the house on the decal and place it in a front window. Remember to keep the list updated.
- When you're away, keep pets near your home's entrance, where firefighters can locate them more easily.
- Practice escape routes with your pets. Keep collars, leashes and carriers near the front door and always in the same place.
- Consider using monitored smoke detection systems so emergency responders can be contacted if you're not home.
Don't Forget Outdoor Pets
- Kennels and runs for outside animals should be located in an area clear of brush and bushes that could fuel a fire. Outdoor pets should wear identification or have microchips implanted, in case they flee the property during an emergency.
Learning about fire safety doesn't take much time, and putting these tips into practice can help protect your pet as well as your home.