Summertime brings with it fun barbeques, trips to the pool or beach, and plenty of campfires. However, hot temperatures bring their own set of dangers, including fire. July 15 is National Pet Fire Safety Day, so it’s a good opportunity to reinforce your fire safety procedures for yourself and your dogs.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says pets are responsible for over 1,000 house fires every year in the United States, and an estimated 40,000 pets die in fires, mostly from smoke inhalation. Some preparation in advance could save your life and your dog’s.
Here are some fire safety tips to protect your home and dog from accidental fire:
- Be sure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on every level of the home. It’s best to place the detectors near the bedrooms and in the kitchen, either on the ceiling or 6 – 12 inches below the ceiling on the wall, well away from air vents. Make sure to check the batteries!
- Have an emergency exit plan that includes your pets, and practice the plan regularly. Once a fire starts, it spreads quickly. Place stickers on your front windows so rescue workers know there are pets inside. Keep leashes close so you can leash your dog to prevent him from escaping in panic. Note where your pets like to nap or hide in case you must evacuate your home quickly.
- Make sure your pets always have current identification. The WaggTagg is a great way to keep your dog’s information up-to-date.
- Never leave your pet alone with lit candles, fires in the fireplace or a lit stove. This goes for electric blankets as well because your dog can chew on the cord and get electrocuted or start the blanket on fire.
- Assemble a dog disaster kit. Include your dog’s food and medications, copies of health records, your veterinarian’s phone number, a list of facilities you can take your pets, a recent photo, favorite toy or bedding, and extra leash and collar.
- Ask your local fire department if the fire trucks carry pet oxygen masks.
- Listen to your dog. Dogs have a good sense of smell and can detect smoke long before humans. If your dog is acting strangely, check it out promptly and be prepared to gather your family and follow your evacuation plan.
- If you must evacuate and can’t find your dog in the house, leave an outside door open and then call your dog’s name once you get out. He may be able to hear you and escape.