What would you do if your family faced a disaster, like a fire? Do you have a plan? What about your pets? According to the National Fire Protection Association, as many as 500,000 pets a year are affected by fires. Your pets are part of your family, so be sure to incorporate them when you’re creating a family emergency plan. You can also help keep your family safer by taking note of a few tips put together by the American Kennel Club and ADT Security Services.
Stop the Fire Before It Starts
- The number one cause of fires started by pets involves the stove or cooktop. If your pets are tall enough to reach (or walk on) the kitchen counter, consider removing the stove knobs when not in use so that your pet can’t accidentally turn a burner on.
- Invest in flameless candles and flashlights instead of real candles or oil lamps for when the power goes out. If you are using open flames, never leave your pets unattended.
- Avoid using glass water bowls on wooden decks. The sun can shine through the glass and heat enough to ignite the wood.
- Turn off lamps when leaving home. With enough time, some bulbs can heat enough to cause a fire if they’re knocked onto a flammable surface, such as a pile of clothes or paper.
- Keep an eye out for loose wires.
Create an Emergency Plan
Having a plan can help prepare you for an emergency, but no plan will suit every situation. Your first priority should always be to get your family to safety as quickly as possible.
- Make note of where your pets like to nap or hide in case you must find them quickly.
- Know where your pet carriers are, and keep them accessible in case you need to evacuate. Your pets will feel safer if they are contained.
- Make sure your pets have identification with a collar or micro-chip in case they escape on their own. If you are separated from your pets, call the shelter to alert us.
- Identify people in advance who are willing to take in your pets in case of an emergency. If you have to go to a shelter, or stay with friends and family, you may not be able to keep your animals with you.
- Alert firefighters to the presence of pets with window stickers that note the number and types of pets inside, and make sure the stickers are up to date.
You can find many more tips for keeping pets safe in case of emergencies or disasters from the ASPCA at: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/disaster-preparedness