According to the American Kennel Club, approximately 500,000 pets are affected by home fires each year. To raise awareness about this important topic, July 15th has been named been National Pet Fire Safety Day. To help ensure your pet does not become affected by fire, we’ve put together a list of five fire safety steps that will help keep your dog or cat safe.
CHECK YOUR SMOKE DETECTORS
It goes without saying that installing smoke detectors in your home is the best thing you can do to protect your family in the event of a fire. Smoke detectors should be installed inside each bedroom, in the general area outside of the bedrooms, and across every level of your home. Once installed, they should be tested at least once a month and batteries should be replaced at least once or twice a year. A good way to remember this is to change the batteries each time you change the clocks as daylight savings begins and ends. To avoid startling your pet with noisy tests each month, try and do it at a time when they are not around – such as when they’re out for a walk or in your yard.
HAVE AN EMERGENCY PLAN
In the event of a fire, having an emergency plan in place that you know will help you stay calm. Instead of trying to figure out what to do in the moment, you can rely on a plan that you have reviewed and practiced. This plan should include a disaster supply kit, knowing the best exits out of our your home, a designated meeting place, and a list of places you can stay if you’re not able to return home. When you practice, make sure that your pet is involved so you’re able to see how they fit into the plan and make changes if necessary.
GET A PET RESCUE WINDOW DECAL
You can order a Pet Safety Pack through the ASPCA that includes a pet rescue window decal. These can be placed in your window or door to help alert firefighters that your pet is inside in the event of an emergency. Just make sure to keep the details on the plan up-to-date, including the type and number of pets, plus your contact details.
COLLARS ON, LEASHES AT THE READY
In the event that firefighters, or anyone else, needs to come into your home to rescue your pet, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to secure your pet. One way to do this is to ensure your dog or cat is wearing their collar, and that leashes are easily accessible by the exit to your home. Instead of keeping leashes away in a drawer or closet, install a hook on the wall that will keep them out of the way but still clearly visible.
PET-PROOF YOUR HOME
Take a walk through your house and see if there are any items that may be a potential fire risk if left unattended. Things like candles and lights are obvious, but what about cords or kitchen appliances? Cats walking across a stovetop may be able to press the buttons that turn on a burner, or a dog could chew through a plugged-in cord. If you’re not able to completely pet-proof these things, consider keeping your pet out of these areas while you’re not home.
This National Pet Fire Safety Day, take the time to see how you can make your home safer for yourself and your pets.
Oregon Veterinary Specialty Hospital (OVSH) has been serving the Portland and Beaverton area community since 1979. Dr. Robert T. Franklin (Internal medicine) welcomes referrals from veterinarians all over the Pacific Northwest. Our goal is to help your pet regain health and live a long and happy life.
Oregon Veterinary Specialty Hospital
9339 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy,
Beaverton, OR 97005.