Fire Safety Tips for Pets and Apartment Living
An estimated 500,000 pets are affected by fires each year and nearly 1,000 of those fires are started by the pets themselves. It's important to spread awareness about how pets can cause fires, how to prevent them, and what to do in the event of a fire emergency.
How to Prevent Your Pet from Starting a House Fire
- Keep all lit candles out of reach of your pets. Never leave lit candles unattended. Blow them out before you leave the room.
- Extinguish any and all embers left behind by a cigarette or fire place. Avoid open flames all together if you can.
- Don't overcrowd your outlets or power strips. Secure all loose cords and wires, so your pets do not have access to chew on them.
- Consider removing your stove's knobs if your pet is large enough to reach them. The stove is the number one cause of fires started by pets.
- Avoid running your washer and dryer when you aren't home and keep up with regular dryer vent cleaning. This may not be directly related to pets, but in 2010 it was estimated that 16,800 fires were caused by dryers or washing machines. That is 1 out of every 22 fires reported!
Fires are no joke no matter where they occur. Living in an apartment or condo where you are in close quarters with others takes some of the fire prevention control out of your hands. It is even more critically important to be prepared and to take special steps to keep your pets safe in case of a fire emergency.
What to Do In Case of a Fire Emergency
- Make a plan. Determine ahead of time which family member is responsible for which pet.
- Limit where your pet can go when you are not at home by closing doors to other rooms. Try to keep your pets as close to the front door as possible, so firefighters or other rescuers have quick access to them.
- Maintain a list of any places where your pet may hide or nap. This is important to know for an emergency evacuation and critical to share with any firefighters or rescue workers.
- Notify your apartment's office or landlord that there is a pet inside, so that they can notify any firefighters in the event you are not home. Be sure they have permission to enter you apartment in case of an emergency.
- Post a sticker, magnet, or window cling on your door or window to indicate that you have pets inside. This notice will let firefighters know to spend a little extra time searching for pets. Be sure to keep this up to date. Add any new pets and remove any pets who may no longer be with you.
- Regularly check your smoke detectors and ensure you have enough throughout your home. Don't forget to replace the batteries on a regular schedule.
- Keep a collar and leash by your bed or in your nightstand in case an emergency occurs late at night while you are sleeping.
- Keep another collar and leash by your front door for easy access. Consider keeping your dog's collar on at all times, especially when you are not present.
- Never stop training your dog especially critical commands like recall and stay, which could help save his or her life.
- Create or purchase a first aid kit for both you and your pets. Have it easily accessible and ready to go.
- Familiarize your pets with a carrying bag or crate as that may be easier to use in an emergency. Plan to bring it with you. Emergencies can be hectic, so keeping your pets contained may make the process go smoother and keep them safer.
- Keep a photo of your pets on your phone or in your wallet along with their medical information in case they get loose during an emergency evacuation.
What steps do you take to keep your pets safe in case of an emergency?
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