As pet parents, keeping our precious furry friends safe is a top priority. So many things can be dangerous to our pooches and kitties. Including fires and open flames. Pets can knock things over and start a fire. Their fur can catch fire from an exposed flame. Or they can get caught in a house fire when you’re at home or they’re alone. As today is National Pet Fire Safety Day, we want to help you protect your pet by sharing these fire safety tips.
- Pet-proof gas stoves. What’s the leading cause of pet-started house fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association? Pets accidentally turning on stove knobs. So it’s a good idea to remove the knobs or use pet-proof covers when you’re away from the kitchen. Also, keep pets away from stovetops and countertops when you’re cooking over an open gas flame – or ban them from the kitchen until you’ve finished.
- Nix the candles. Lit candles look so pretty but they’re a potential threat to pets. All it takes is a wagging tail to knock them over. Or worse still, for your pet’s tail to catch fire. The solution? Replace them with battery-operated, scented flameless candles or reed infusers. They’ll give your home the same lovely fragrance as a classic candle without the risks of an open flame. If you want to stick with the real thing, lock your pet out of the room until you extinguish the candle and move the hot, melted wax to a secure location.
- Use safety screens in front of open fires. Our pets love to lie near fires to soak up their warmth. But gas fireplaces and wood-burning stoves pose a serious hazard to our pets, with their flickering flames, logs falling onto the hearth and popping embers. Put a metal fireplace screen in front of the fire and make sure there’s a glass door on your wood burning stove. The same goes for outdoor grills, fire pits and chimineas. Create a safety zone of several feet around the grill or fire and use screens to contain sparks and wind-blown ashes.
- Cover electrical cords. Another cause of house fires is pets chewing on electrical cords that can then short out, spark and start a fire. Covering them with cord protectors such as these. Don’t let your pets chew on electrical blankets either as the resulting exposed wires could start a fire.
- Fire-proof your home. Make sure to equip your home with battery-operated smoke detectors and test them regularly. Better yet, sign up for a monitored smoke detection service that will alert your local fire department if there is smoke or fire. They’ll respond, whether you’re at home or not.
- Create a pet fire-escape plan. Know your pet’s hiding spots so you can find them quickly in the event of a fire. Map out escape routes from each room of your house. And have regular fire drills with your pets.
- Assemble a pet emergency supplies kit. You can get a pet disaster kit checklist from the CDC. Include must-have items such as pet diapers, waste pick up bags and supplements from www.outpetcare.com, www.bagsonboard.com and www.vetsbest.com.
- Put pet rescue alert stickers on windows. These will let first responders know you have pets, whether they’re cats or dogs (or another animal), and how many. You can order a free window decal alert from the ASPCA. If you live in a fire-prone area, keep your pet in a room near your home’s entrance when you’re out and note where they’re located on the stickers.
Each year, fires affect nearly 500,000 pets and about 1,000 home fires are accidentally started by pets, according to the experts. We’ve shared some tips to help keep pets safe from fire and open flames. Please let us know if you have any other suggestions in the comments section below.