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Pet Fire Safety: Prevention & Planning are Your Best Lines of Defense

pet fire safety

Did you know …

Approximately 500,000 pets suffer from smoke inhalation every year. And as many as 40,000 pets die in house fires.

That’s not OK. Many of these tragedies could have been prevented.

So, to recognize National Pet Fire Safety Day, let’s talk about how you can:

  1. Prevent fires from happening at home
  2. Prepare a fire safety evacuation plan

Prevent Your Pets from Starting Fires

Anyone can start a fire. Even your pets. 

FACT: The National Fire Protection Association estimates that nearly 1,000 home fires each year are started by family pets.

Since July 15th is National Pet Fire Safety Day, let’s kick things off with some fire prevention tips.

Fire prevention is critical

Here are some things you can do (proactively) to reduce the risk of your pet starting a fire:

  • Never leave burning candles unattended, especially if they’re in reach of your pets (on the coffee table, for instance).
  • Never leave a wood-burning fireplace unattended. 
  • Same goes for the stove, iron, hair straightener, or any other electrical appliance -- make sure they’re all turned off and/or unplugged before you leave the house.
  • Keep pets out of the kitchen when unsupervised (larger dogs can accidentally turn the knobs on a stove if they get curious or smell food).
  • Think about keeping your pets confined in a crate or behind a gate so they’re safe from mischief, and so emergency responders can quickly locate and remove them.
  • At the very least, check your smoke detectors (and carbon monoxide detectors) once a month. Also check the manufactured date … if they're more than 10 years old, replace them.

Better still, consider upgrading to monitored smoke detectors, which are connected to a remote dispatch centre that can alert emergency responders to a fire (or other crisis) when you’re not home.

What else can you do to protect your precious little furballs?

Place a decal in both front and back doors and/or windows so rescuers know there are pets inside. Be sure to list out how many pets, species and names they may answer to … something like this:

In case of emergency, SAVE OUR PETS!
ABBY > female pug dog (fawn/beige)
ROXY > female Boston terrier / pug dog (gray & black)
CHANCE > Boston terrier / pug dog (brindle)
ODIN > male cat (black & white)
JAZZ > female cat (calico)
BARNEY > budgie bird (blue)


Download and print your own Pet Emergency Sign now

If you have a neighbour you trust, consider giving them a spare key to your home so they can get in quickly to save your pets.

Even if you’re not 100% comfortable giving out spare keys, let your neighbours know about your pets so, in case you’re not home, they can tell firefighters to save your pets. 

Know where your pets hide

Hot flames, smoke and loud alarms are all terrifying, particularly to your pets. Rather than running toward safety, most pets will run and hide. Knowing where they’re likely to go (under the couch or bed, inside the closet, under the stairs) can help you find them quickly in an emergency. 

Include pets in your evacuation plan

According to the American Red Cross, you may have as little as two minutes to escape when a fire starts in your home. If you don’t already have a fire evacuation plan, make one now. 

Write it down and share it with everyone in the house. We’ll help you get started …

  • Make sure everyone in your household knows where to find the fire extinguisher.
  • Make sure the fire extinguisher is easily accessible and ready for use (check the expiry date).
  • Identify two ways to get out of every room in your house.
  • Make sure everyone knows where to meet once you’re outside.
  • Keep leashes and/or carriers near every exit.
  • Do the fire drills! Practice your evacuation plan at least twice a year to keep it fresh in everyone’s mind.

If you have to evacuate before locating your pets, leave the doors open and call them by name (from a safe distance) to help them find their way. Tell firefighters that pets are still inside.

Keep these pet fire safety tips top of mind, and share the National Pet Fire Safety Day message with all your fellow pet parents. After all, being prepared is the best line of defense when it comes to keeping all family members (two-legged and four) safe.

Download “Save Our Pets” window decals and wallet cards now. 

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