Safeguarding Pets: Fire Safety Essentials

Did you know that over 500,000 pets are affected by home fires each year?

Ensuring the safety of your dog or cat in the face of a potential fire should be a top priority.

pet fire safety tips

A rookie mistake many pet parents make is not considering what to do in case of a fire.

No one ever wants to think of a fire breaking out at home, but sadly, it’s a disaster that can happen to anyone.

As a Certified Pet First Aid & CPR/CPCR Instructor with an additional certification in Pet Safety, I have learned that pet fire safety is critical.

Recently, there have been many local news stories of families losing their homes during a fire; sadly, some have also lost their pets.

Although we may not be able to save all our pets during a fire as pet parents, we can take responsibility and take all necessary precautions.

In this post, you will learn how to protect your pets from house fires, what to do with pets in a fire, and more fire safety tips to ensure the safest and best outcome for your dogs and cats.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you.

This blog is about fire pet safety.

Pet Fire Safety Awareness

Prepare Your Home.

national pet fire safety

Pets, especially curious ones, can inadvertently cause fires.

They might knock over candles, chew on electrical cords, or play with stove knobs.

Pet-proofing helps mitigate these risks by securing potential hazards and reducing the likelihood of an accidental fire.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost 1,000 home fires are started by pets each year.

Pet-proof Your Kitchen.

how to protect dog in case of fire

Believe it or not, many fires get started by pets who accidentally turn on a stove by jumping up or have learned to turn the knobs.

Dogs are known to jump up to reach food left on stoves and accidentally turn on the stovetop knobs.

pet fire safety day

Properly store away food and keep anything tempting out of reach from paws and claws.

Consider stovetop and knob covers to prevent your pet from accidentally turning the knob, igniting burners, or having gas from burners fill the home with dangerous fumes.

Other Home Essentials to Pet-proof.

national pet fire safety day

Ensure no loose wires or power cords your pets may chew on are hanging or lying around.

Do not leave any candles on in the house that your pet may accidentally knock over.

Cats are infamous for knocking things over because they can, and dogs are pretty good at accidentally bumping into tables or jumping on countertops, knocking a lit candle over.

pet fire safety preparedness

If you love having lit candles around your home, consider using flameless candles instead.

During colder temps, space heaters can quickly turn into fire hazards, especially when left unattended.

Unplug any space heater and keep anything flammable from the device before leaving your home.

Check Smoke Detectors and Fire Extinguishers.

fire safety tips for pets

A little-known fact about smoke detectors is that they should be replaced every ten years.

Go around your home and ensure all smoke detectors are clean, have a good working battery, and work effectively.

Remember, during a fire, you want your smoke detectors to alert you and your family to evacuate the home as soon as possible.

home fire safety tips for pets

Home fire extinguishers should be in good working order and replaced every 10-12 years.

If you have a home fire extinguisher, you must know how to use it.

Take the time to look over the directions to familiarize yourself with how to use your fire extinguisher.

The last thing you want to do is to have to stop and read directions when you need to put out a fire at home.

Display Pet Alert Signs and Stickers.

pet alert window cling

Pet fire safety alert signs and stickers are a great addition to your home.

They help notify emergency personnel that pets are inside and give your pets a chance to be saved, too.

Place signs or stickers near entrances or windows to alert firefighters that pets are inside and how many pets you have.

First responders don’t always know that you have pets during a fire, especially when no one is around to let them know.

You can find pet alert stickers at local pet retail stores, home improvement stores, or Amazon.

Place Pets Where They Can Easily Be Found.

fire safety tips for pets at home

If you have to leave your dog in a crate or kennel when you’re out, consider placing them in an area where they can be easily found in case of a fire.

Stickers can give firefighters a heads up that pets are inside, but during a fire, when time is of the essence, firefighters don’t have time to look around for your pets.

Place your pet’s kennel, crate, or pen in an area that emergency personnel can easily see and get to.

rescue retriever smoke detector
Photo Credit: Rescue Retriever

Don’t leave your pet in a room behind a closed door or a hard-to-reach place.

Consider adding a Rescue Retriever smoke detector for pets to areas where your dog or cat is routinely in.

The Rescue Retriever activates when smoke is detected and alerts firefighters with a silent strobing light where they can find your pet during fires or smoke-filled rooms.

Ensure your pet has the best chance to be seen and rescued by any first responder.

Create a Pet Fire Evacuation Plan.

how to get your dog out of a burning house

Have you ever considered how to escape your home with your dog or cat during a fire?

How would you get out if a fire with your pet breaks out in front of the house?

What if you live in a high-rise apartment or condo, and your emergency exit is blocked by fire?

What if you live in a two-story home with a fire on the first floor?

Knowing your escape routes is crucial in an emergency fire evacuation so you and your pets can escape as quickly as possible.

what to do with pets in a fire

According to the American Red Cross, you have about two minutes to evacuate your home in a fire emergency.

More than two minutes is needed to determine how or where to evacuate.

Make a fire safety plan for pet evacuation.

Better Cities for Pets recommends creating a plan to evacuate each room in at least two different ways.

Know where to find leashes, collars or harnesses, and carriers to quickly get on your pet, get your pet in if needed, and get out.

how to evacuate pets during fire

If you live in a high-rise apartment or condo, ensure you know the location of the nearest and second emergency exits.

You may be wondering why you should know two.

If you live in a building with many people, the chaos of a fire will have them instinctively rushing all to one exit.

However, having a backup exit increases your chances of getting out of the building safely and quickly with your pet.

Know Where Your Pet Likes to Hide.

how to save pets in a fire at home

When panic sets in during an emergency or the sound of a smoke detector, pets are known to run and hide in their favorite safe spot.

However, do you know where your pet’s go-to hiding spot is?

Remember during a fire, time is of the essence to evacuate.

Ensure you know where your pet is most likely to be hiding so you can reach them and safely evacuate together.

Have a Dog Leash Ready.

evacuating with pets during fire

Always have an extra leash by your exits.

If you can’t get to your daily dog leash, having spare leashes for quick emergency evacuations is always a good idea.

You want to be sure to control your dog and escort your dog outside quickly.

A leash will also ensure your dog stays with you, making it less likely for them to run away or get lost in the chaos of a fire evacuation.

Pet Fire Evacuation Device.

pet fire escape bag

If you live in a two-story home or a high rise, consider how you evacuate your pets from above ground level.

Let’s face it: you might not be able to carry your pet or multiple pets for several reasons, but you should have a plan to evacuate your pets safely if you can.

An emergency escape bag for pets, like the ISOP Fire Evacuation Device for Pets, can help you get your pet out from a window or balcony.

This soft bag allows you to place your pet inside, carry it on your back like a backpack, or lower it to safety.

Update Pet Identification Tags and Microchips.

how to keep pets safe during fires

Pets are likely to run away from dangerous situations, and you never know where they may end up, so you want to be sure they are easily identified and can get back home as soon as possible.

Ensure your pet’s identification tags and microchips are up-to-date with your current contact information.

Get Your Pet Evaluated by a Veterinarian.

pet fire hazards

If your pet is involved in a fire, most likely your dog or cat inhaled the flames’ toxic fumes and experienced smoke inhalation.

Smoke inhalation is a serious medical situation for humans and pets, and immediate action is needed.

The fumes from fire contain chemicals like carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and cyanide, which are highly poisonous to pets.

According to veterinarians, any pet suffering from smoke inhalation is at significant risk of sustaining severe injuries to their lungs, burnt airways, and dying.

smoke inhalation pets
Picture Credit: Huntington Beach Fire Department

Some signs of smoke inhalation for pets include but are not limited to:
• Severe Coughing
• Gagging and/or Vomiting
• Red and/or Swollen Eyes
• Squinting
• Open Mouth Breathing
• Foaming at the mouth
• Bright Red, Blue, or Pale Gums
• Respiratory distress and/or difficulty breathing
• Seizures

Your pet needs to get clean oxygen, typically through an oxygen mask, to reduce their risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

First responders are good about providing oxygen for pets, as many want to help an animal in distress.

Although your dog or cat may seem ok, signs of smoke inhalation may not begin to present until a few hours have passed.

Get your pet to the nearest emergency vet as soon as possible so the staff can carefully evaluate and provide the necessary medical treatment.

national pet fire safety day tips

One never wants to think about potential dangerous emergencies like fires happening to them, but we should always be prepared not only for ourselves but also for our pets.

By taking proactive steps to pet-proof your home against fires, creating pet evacuation plans, and preparing your pets, you create a safer, more secure environment for your pets and reduce the risk of devastating accidents.

This blog was about pet fire safety.

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