by Melody Keilig
July is a big month for pets, with the summer weather bringing us outside for longer lengths of time. But, unfortunately, this month isn’t always about beach trips and outdoor adventures. For instance, dogs go missing in July more than any other month.
And, of course, heat exhaustion can correlate with the rapidly rising temperatures and put dogs in danger. So, with these dangers, it’s no wonder why National Pet Fire Safety Day is in July.
So, what’s it all about, and how did it start? Let’s find out!
How This Pet Safety Awareness Day Got Started
This pet holiday promotes fire safety and preventative ways to keep fires from starting. According to the American Kennel Club, an estimated 500,000 pets are affected by home fires every year in the United States. Due to this alarming statistic, the American Kennel Club and ADT Security Services joined forces to create National Pet Fire Safety Day in 2009.
This day of awareness strives to educate pet owners about potential fire risks and to prevent pets from getting injured or killed from home fires. Some highlighted understanding includes teaching pet owners about fire safety, like turning off appliances before you leave to run errands or go to work.
Prevent Fires and Keep Your Pets Safe
It’s a scary thought to think about your pets being home alone when something happens. But, the more prepared you are with a fire plan, the better the chances of preventing fires in the first place. Or, if you find yourself in an emergency, at least you’ll have a plan in place and be able to prevent a panicked reaction.
The best things to focus on are:
- Pet-proofing your living space
- Develop pet-friendly escape routes
- Alerting rescuers of your pets
- Double-checking appliances and other fire hazards
When pet-proofing your living space, walk around your house or apartment with fresh eyes. To complete this step, look at everything hidden in plain sight that could become a fire hazard. For example, keep phone chargers and other cords out of reach if you have a dog who loves to chew. Not only could your dog get an electric shock, but exposed wiring is a fire hazard.
So, take your time and look around your space to ensure that your pet doesn’t have access to electrical objects. Then, think about how you would childproof your living area and apply those techniques to keep your pet safe.
Childproofing ideas include:
- Covering outlets
- Covering stove knobs
- Keep lighters, matches, and candles out of reach
Double-check that your stovetop and oven are turned off when you must leave your pet at home temporarily. If your pet can reach the stove knobs, get childproof stove knob covers so your dog can’t accidentally switch them on. If you like to light candles, keep them away from your pet and make sure you blow any lit candles out before you leave.
Take Other Preventative Measures
Because ADT is involved with National Pet Fire Safety Day, it’s a good reminder to invest in monitored smoke detectors or cameras. Because you can access these systems through your smartphone, it gives you peace of mind when you know you can check in anytime. You’ll get an alert if smoke is detected, and emergency services will be on their way to your home.
If you have multiple pets, make a window cling or sticker with the number of pets you have in your home. There are many options online, so you can easily find one that fits perfectly in your window. In addition, you can list the kind of pets you have, whether you have one dog and two cats or only one dog. This method saves rescuers valuable time when they know precisely how many animals are in the home.
So, update the window cling or sticker when you get a new pet or if a pet passes away. You wouldn’t want emergency services wasting crucial life-saving time trying to find an animal that is no longer in the living space. The same goes for firefighters missing an animal that needs saving because you didn’t update your list.
Have a Fire Escape Plan
Yes, emergency escape routes aren't just for humans! You can create a fire escape plan for your pet by practicing a drill with them. Keep it light and fun so they don't get scared or drag you behind if they're on a leash.
Speaking of leashes, keep anything you need to lead your dog in case of a fire emergency close to entrances. This way, if you are home during a fire emergency, you can have your dog's leash and collar ready to grab quickly during your escape. Even if you're not home during a fire, having your dog's collar and leash at any entrance can help firefighters keep your dog secure if you're not home yet.
Just like with any fire escape plan, draw a floor plan for your house or apartment. You can also go online to create a digital floor plan that you can print out. Once your living space is drawn out, mark two escapes out of each room. So, if you have one door and two windows in one room, mark the two best escapes in that area. Be sure to also mark the location of each smoke alarm in the living space.
If you’re in a high-rise or condominium during a fire emergency, proceed down the stairs with caution and never take the elevator down. In the event that there’s too much smoke outside of your doors or your doors are hot to the touch, stuff wet towels under your doors and call emergency services immediately.
Then, open a window and wave a brightly colored cloth or object that firefighters will be able to see from the ground. Your dog might get scared and start barking, so stay as calm as possible to keep them from panicking. Keep a first aid kit handy in case you or your dog get burned by touching hot doors or somehow get hurt in the commotion.
Whether home or temporarily away, a fire emergency is a scary experience for humans and pets alike. We can't always prevent accidental fires, but the more you prevent potential hazards, the better your chance of preventing them. So, make a plan, practice your escape routes, and keep firefighters aware of how many pets you have in your home.Do you have any pet fire safety tips to share? Join our growing Porch Potty Facebook community and let us know how you prevent accidental fires when your pets are home alone.