By Emily Phillips
La Plata County Humane Society
Fire season is here and we all dread it. We also all worry about beloved furry companions, if ever we had to evacuate. However, fire season is not the only season when a potential fire can occur. The sad truth is, each year, 40,000 pets die in house fires, in which pets accidentally start 1,000 of those fires.
National Pet Fire Safety Day is coming up July 15, and we want to provide some helpful tips to prevent, protect and prepare you and your family in case of a potential fire.
Keep your pets and home protected Remove or lock knobs on your stove: Pets may nudge the stove knob just enough to ignite a burner. Knob covers are an inexpensive and effective way to keep this from happening. Do not leave candles unattended: Extinguish all open flames when you leave the room, so they are not tipped over by a tail or paw. Consider using flameless candles. Pet-proof your home: Go through your home and eliminate any loose wires or other hazards. Secure young pets: Keep young puppies or kittens confined away from potential fire hazards. Beware of water bowls on wooden decks: Hot rays from the sun when filtered through a glass bowl can actually ignite a wood deck. Use ceramic or stainless steel bowls instead. Monitor your smoke detectors: Consider switching to monitored smoke detectors that are connected to a monitoring center. This provides an added layer of protection beyond battery-operated smoke alarms. Practice escape routes with your pets: Keep your pet’s collars, leashes and emergency kits handy in case you have to evacuate or first responders need to rescue your pet. Affix a pet alert window cling: Write down the number of pets in your house and hang cling on a front-facing window. This will alert first responders that pets are inside your home. Pet alert window clings can be purchased at pet supply stores or online. Be prepared for an emergencyKeep your pet’s identification tags and license up-to-date on their collars and get your pet microchipped. La Plata County Humane Society provides pet licensing, ID tags and microchipping services to the public at a low cost. Visit lpchumanesociety.org for more information. Make an emergency kit and keep it near your front door for easy access. Be sure to keep your pet’s current vaccination records and medical history inside the kit. Arrange a place for pets to stay if you are to evacuate. Do not leave your pets at home; if it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for them. Call your local shelter or humane society to find out about their short-term sheltering protocols during an emergency. Our pets are precious assets, so it is important to be prepared and know how to protect your beloved companions in case of an emergency. You can support Pet Fire Safety Awareness Day by sharing on social media using #petfiresafetyday or implementing an evacuation plan with your pets and family.
Emily Phillips is marketing and development manager for La Plata County Humane Society.