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What To Do With Pets In A House Fire

1 Nov

Our pets are our family. No matter how big or small, the family pet is as important to our daily lives as every other basic comfort. Fortunately for us, we know what to do when we see smoke or hear a fire alarm. Unfortunately for them, they have no idea what these scary occurrences mean. Keep your pet safe and alive by following a few simple tips to keep that essential family member with you for a long time.

1. ADD A PET STICKER TO YOUR HOME

Many fire departments or veterinary offices will issue “Save My Pet” stickers for your front door or window. One of the biggest reasons pets die in fires is because the firefighters are not aware of their presence. Consider an instance when you are not home and a fire starts – you want the rescuers to know about your pet. Some stickers have lines for you to list each type of pet for the rescuers.

2. PET PROOF YOUR HOME

Don’t leave any open flame around a pet. Keep your pet in one room when it sleeps so you know where it will be if you need to leave quickly. Observe your pet when it is scared of things such as thunder to discover where its favorite hiding places are; you will go here first in case of real danger. Your pet will hide rather than follow you. Know where he typically hides. Include your pets in the family escape route – assign an adult to grab the pet on the way out the door and practice the plan at least once a month.

3. CHECK THE SMOKE ALARMS

Check those smoke alarms every time you change the clocks. This makes sense for the humans as well as for the animals. Remember, however, that while the people know what it means when the alarm rings, the animals will not know how to respond. A plan of action may be to watch your pet while you check the batteries in the alarm to see how he reacts. To check the batteries in the alarm, you need to press the test button. This will set off the alarm. Watch your pet to see where he hides when the alarm activates, and note this hiding spot for emergency situations.

4. ASK FOR PET OXYGEN MASKS

Emergency personnel and veterinarians are beginning to realize that carbon monoxide and smoke inhalation is just as deadly to pets as it is to humans, and some organizations are beginning to arm themselves with pet-shaped oxygen masks. Ask if this is possible for your pet during transportation to the veterinarian. The extra oxygen for your pet will increase her chances of survival. If your local fire department does not have pet oxygen masks, start a campaign to help them get the equipment.

The most important part of saving your pet during an emergency is to know your pet and know how he will react to danger. Hold your pet tightly after you leave the home, as he is still scared and his “safe place” is still inside that burning home. His first instinct will be to run back into that burning house to where he thinks he is safe.

If you think it’s okay to just leave the doors open so the pet can leave on its own, please allow the following article to change your mind:

Dog Saves Owner; Dies

For further reading, and for references for this blog:

House Fires and Pets

Bucks County PA: House Fires and Your Pet

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