We all remember the fire drills we had in school – lining up single file and proceeding to an organized area in the school yard. Hopefully, as adults, we’ve adopted some of the recommended fire safety protocols in our homes. Discussing and practicing fire drills in the house and testing our smoke alarms monthly. But what about our pets? How fire safe are you when it comes to your pets?
Here are some tips and pointers to consider when preparing your fire safety plan to help ensure your pets get out safe and sound too.
- Place a Pet Occupancy Sticker on your front door or window to notify emergency personnel – Remember to keep it up to date!
- Include your pets in your fire drill escape plans. If possible assign a family member to each pet to ensure everyone is accounted for.
- Plan a safe meeting place outside that will help decrease your pets stress. Some where away from the fire hydrant and main road.
- Keep kennel and leashes near an exit in a convenient spot. Ideally, a set would be kept at every exit to ensure if one exit is blocked then you have supplies available at an alternative route.
- Keep an information sheet with your name and contact number, pets name and description (including ID tattoo or microchip), veterinary clinic phone number and any medical information on it. This form should be kept with the leashes and taped onto the carrier. Therefore if you need to drop your pet off at a neighbors house they will be able to be proactive right away with your pet to ensure they are well looked after until you can be reunited.
- Be sure to have a plan to secure your pets once safe outside! Trying to hold them while waiting for fire crews to arrive can not only be dangerous for you, but also increases the risk that they will get loose from your arms and possibly run away. Tying dogs to a fence and keeping cats in carriers is the best option. If possible, taking them to a neighbors house and asking them to keep them contained (in case the fire spreads), or placing them in a vehicle away from the fire is the safest options.
It is important to understand most animals will be under stress in the event of a fire. Cats especially tend to hide during times of stress. Try to learn where your pets hiding spots are in the house-this may save time searching for them in the event of a fire. Cats who are not used to going into their carriers may resent and fight going into it especially during a time of stress. Try keeping your cat carrier assessable for your cat with a towel in it and the door left open all the time-this will allow it to be a safe place to rest and will make your cat much more agreeable to go in during a time of stress.
Remembering to include your pets in your fire drills and practicing them regularly will help ensure that they are kept safe in the event of a fire.