With the tagline, “Ever Wonder What Your Pets Do When You’re Not at Home?”, the newest animated film from Universal Studios comes to theaters at a perfect time to highlight National Pet Fire Safety Day on July 15.
Back in 2009, The American Kennel Club together with ADT Security Services established National Pet Fire Safety Day to raise awareness among pet owners of the fire hazards their cat, dog or other animal could pose at home, with the hope that many of these fires can be prevented.
According to reports, many fires are caused by pets, especially when are left alone in the house. NFPA’s latest numbers show that local fire departments responded to an average of 700 home structure fires per year in which animals, including pets and wild animals, contributed to the fire’s start. A few of the causes include:
- Pets bumping into, turning on or knocking over cooking equipment, lamps, candles or space heaters
- Birds, rodents or other animals building nests in chimneys, or in or on top of equipment
- Animals chewing on cords or wiring
As pet owners, we can take steps to help prevent fires and plan for unexpected emergencies. Important actions to consider are:
- Keeping pets (who are naturally curious!) away from stoves and countertops where they can knock over, bump into or turn on cooking equipment
- Using battery-operated, flameless candles that look just as nice as real candles but won’t catch fire if knocked over
- Making sure pets stay away from lamps, spaceheaters and other heat-producing appliances
- Keeping an eye on your pets to make sure they don’t chew through electrical cords; inspecting cords regularly and calling a professional if you notice a problem
It’s also important to know that in the event of a fire, you should never go back inside for your pets. Instead, tell firefighters that you have a pet trapped inside. They are better equipped and trained to handle these emergency situations.
And what if you live in the wildland/urban interface where forest and wildland fires are more prevalent? And your pets include other animals like horses and cows? Then you know that in the event of a wildfire you may have to quickly evacuate. Planning ahead, like including pets in your family’s evacuation plan and creating their own pet evacuation kit is key to helping you stay calm and organized during a stressful time. Not sure where to start? You can find a number of resources including videos, tips sheets and toolkits at www.nfpa.org/takeaction.
So if you’re a pet owner with a cat or dog or other animal that lives in the house with you, or you have animals that live on your farm, let today, July 15, be the day that moves you to action and motivates you to create and practice a plan that keeps every member of your family safer from fire.