Tuesday, July 15, 2014

July 15th is National Pet Fire Safety Day!


Did you know that firefighters rescue more pets than people from burning buildings? People can get out of a house on their own, but pets, especially cats, can become frightened and hide in small places, making it difficult to evacuate them.

If you need a sticker for your door or window to alert emergency personnel that they should watch for pets in your home, visit this link. When you receive your window cling, write down the number of pets you have and then attach the cling to a front window. Your local fire department may also have stickers available.

Here are some additional pet fire safety tips:

  • Extinguish Open Flames - Cats are curious critters and will investigate cooking appliances, candles, or even a fire in your fireplace. They will walk across hot stoves, and they will bat at hot irons. Ensure your pet is not left unattended around an open flame or other heated appliance and make sure to thoroughly extinguish any open flame before leaving your home. Note: a different kind of burn (chemical) can occur when cats come into contact with scented oils in diffusers or heated oil lamps. Please make sure that your cat does not come into contact with these aromatic oils. These burns worsen over time, so if your cat does spill scented oil on itself, please seek emergency attention for your pet immediately, even if the burn does not appear too bad.
  • Pet Proof the Home - Take a walk around your home and look for areas where cats might start fires inadvertently, such as the stove knobs, loose wires and other potential hazards.If you have a cat that likes to chew wires, wrap the wires in bubble wrap, or spray them with a bitter tasting spray such as Bitter Apple.
  • Secure Young Pets - Keep cat, especially young kittens, separated from potential fire-starting hazards when you are away from home.This may mean your kitten needs a special play-room when the house is empty until he or she is old enough to outgrow chewing behavior.
  • Keep Pets Near Entrances - When leaving pets home alone, keep them in areas or rooms near entrances where firefighters can easily find them.  
  • Practice Escape Routes with Pets - Have a plan for your cats in case you have to evacuate quickly or firefighters need to rescue your pet. If your cat hates the carrier, have alternative carry methods such as a secure cardboard box or a knotted pillowcase. If your cat has not had to travel in a carrier, or if your cat hates the carrier, try to acclimate your cat to it by leaving a carrier out at all times. If you have a carrier that comes apart easily, you can take the top off and convert it into a bed with a cushion or soft blanket. You may try feeding your cat meals in the carrier to decrease the negative feelings your cat may associate with it. Practice putting your cat in a carrier at times other than when you plan to take them to the veterinary hospital, so that they learn that not every trip in the carrier ends with shots!
  • Pets Can't Escape a Burning Home on their Own - If you have a home security system, you may want to install monitored smoke detectors which are connected to monitoring center personnel that call the fire department. Or, if you do not have or want a home security system, a product such as the Nest Protect will send you notifications on your Smart Phone when smoke or carbon monoxide are detected in your home and no one is home.
  • Keep Your Information Updated - Firefighters are familiar with pet alert window clings so keep the number of pets listed on them updated. Knowing the accurate number of pets in the house aids rescuers in finding all of your pets. Also make sure to keep your pets' microchip information up to date in case they escape your home on their own. While you can't track them, you have an 86% greater chance of finding them if they have a microchip versus those pets that do not. If you have recently moved or changed your phone number or email address, take a moment and update that information with your microchip company. If your pet is not currently microchipped, you may want to think about having it done.
  • Summer is Grilling Season! - Be aware of your pets around the grill, as well! June and July are the peak months for grilling accidents. Your cat may try to jump on the grill and investigate that yummy cedar-planked salmon or sink their claws into those just baby back ribs!