According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), an estimated 500,000 pets in the United States are affected by devastating home fires each year!
Throughout the week, Portland Fire & Rescue will be providing helpful prevention, escape, and rescue tips for pet owners. It is important to US to help keep EVERY member of your family safe!
To keep pets safe, it’s important to plan for unexpected emergencies such as house fires. The tips below will help keep your pets safe and sound from house fires:
Extinguish Open Flames - Pets are generally curious and will investigate cooking appliances, candles, or even a fire in your fireplace. Ensure your pet is not left unattended around an open flame and make sure to thoroughly extinguish any open flame before leaving your home.
Pet Proof the Home - Take a walk around your home and look for areas where pets might start fires inadvertently, such as the stove knobs, loose wires and other potential hazards.
Secure Young Pets - Especially with young puppies, keep them confined away from potential fire-starting hazards when you are away from home.
Keep Pets Near Entrances – When leaving pets home alone, keep them in areas or rooms near entrances, preferably on the ground floor, where firefighters can easily find them.
Practicing Escape Routes with Pets – Be sure that your pets are part of your organized evacuation plan. Rehearse your plan repeatedly with your family, including your pets. Make sure to keep collars and leashes at the ready in case you have to evacuate quickly with your pet or firefighters need to rescue your pet.
Since Pets Left Alone Can’t Escape a Burning Home – Use monitored smoke detectors which are connected to a monitoring center, providing an added layer of protection beyond battery-operated smoke alarms.
Keep Your Information Updated - Firefighters are familiar with pet alert window clings so keep the number of pets listed on them updated. Knowing the accurate number of pets in the house can aid rescuers in locating your pets. Note that Portland firefighters do look for pets. It doesn't take a sticker: if a neighbor says there may be pets inside a burning house, firefighters will look. Portland firefighter’s first priority is saving human lives -- including their own.
Pet Disaster Kit: Assemble a pet disaster kit that includes a supply of your pet’s food and treats, water, vaccination records and medications, emergency contact information including your veterinarian’s number, a favorite toy and an extra leash and collar with your pet's identification.
Emergency Boarding: Research pet organizations in your area ahead of time, so you will have a place to board your animal in case of emergency.
Neighbors: Give a key to a trusted neighbor, and make sure they know where your pet might be located within the house so they can inform firefighters.
Working Smoke Detectors: Pets are members of the family too, and their safety depends on your ability to comply with standard fire safety measures. Be sure to have working smoke detectors on every level of the home and near bedrooms, and keep hallways and home exits free of clutter.
Check back tomorrow to learn about the specialty equipment Portland Fire & Rescue uses to help pets who are suffering from smoke inhalation!
February 1, 2010