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An estimated 500,000 pets are affected annually by home fires, and a new data analysis by the National Fire Protection Association shows that nearly 1,000 house fires each year are accidentally started by the homeowners’ pets.
“People should equip their homes with the latest in fire safety-technology and be vigilant about practicing escape procedures for all family members, including our furry, four-legged friends,” said Scottsdale Fire Marshal Jim Ford. “We also encourage pet owners to use a window cling, posted near the front of the home, to help our firefighters quickly identify the accurate number of pets inside so they can be rescued once the humans are safe.”
Here are some practical tips to keep pets safe 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 where firefighters can easily find them.
- Practice Escape Routes with Pets – Keep collars and leashes at the ready in case you have to evacuate quickly with your pet or firefighters need to rescue your pet.
- Keep Your Window Cling 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 finding all of your pets and provides important information so that firefighters do not put themselves or others in danger when rescuing pets.
- Consider Using Monitored Smoke Detection Services – As an added layer of protection beyond battery-operated smoke alarms, smoke alarms connected to a monitoring center help save pets who can’t escape when left home alone.