Do you have pet fire safety plan?

I remember as a kid in grade school creating a fire safety plan for our house. We had to mark all the exits, know where to go if there ever was a fire, and who to call. Looking back, it was a smart activity that I probably didn’t appreciate at the time.

Now, as a momma to 2 doggos, we have a different fire safety plan, but it follows the same idea: plan ahead and be prepared.

Unfortunately, each year, 500,000 pets suffer from smoke inhalation and 40,000 die due to house fires. And since this week we celebrate Pet Fire Safety Day, I thought about that plan and all of the other things we do to keep the risk of a fire reduced around our animals.

Pet Fire Safety Tips

Use these pet fire safety tips to create a plan in case you’re ever faced with a fire at home, or to protect your pets if you’re not home if a fire breaks out.

1. Have a plan for evacuation – one that includes the pets.

Pets should always be included in your family’s evacuation plan.

  • know all the emergency exits
  • discuss the plan with everyone in your home
  • have a designated spot away from the house to gather
  • assign a family member to each pet
  • be aware of favored hiding spots in case pets get nervous
  • keep an emergency kit with food and medication near the exit

[RELATED] Having an emergency preparedness kit on hand and stocked at all times is always a good idea. Here’s what we keep in ours.

2. Put a sticker on the front and back door or window to let rescuers know there are pets in the house (and how many).

If there is ever a fire, you want to make sure rescue teams know there are pets in the home. Our local pet food store had free stickers that we put on your front and back door, noting pets in the home home many, and the number to call. But you can easily make your own. Just be sure to include the number of pets (and what kind of animals), and put your phone number on it as well, just in case you’re not home at the time.

3. Keep leashes and collars, even pet carriers, nearby all exits in case pets need to be evacuated.

If you have to leave the house in a hurry, you want to be able to quickly grab leashes and collars to help secure your pets. A fire will be hectic, so you want to make sure your animals are secured and away from danger.

4. Only use flameless candles, or keep them well out of reach, and never leave them unattended.

The National Fire Protection Association estimates that nearly 1,000 home fires each year are started by family pets. Never leave a lit candle within reach of a pet. Be careful with wood burning fireplaces as well.

pet fire safety

5. Secure or unplug wires/cords so they don’t become chew toys that can injure pets or cause an electrical fire.

This is especially important for cat lovers. If your cat is a fan of stringy things, make sure wires and cords are secured and unaccessible to reduce the risk of kitties chewing away.

6. Keep pets confined and away from potential fire-starting hazards when you’re away from home, especially those youngsters. 

Again, pets can be sneaky, so if you’re worried about what your pets might get up to when they’re home alone, consider a crate to keep them safe, or designate a room that’s free from fire hazards.

Also, when you’re not home, this can help keep pets in areas near entrances where emergency responders can easily find them.

7. If you have a curious pet or one who climbs around your kitchen, use knob covers or remove knobs when you aren’t around to monitor pet safety.

Like with human children, homes most often require pet proofing. Pay careful attention to objects such as stove knobs and hot appliances that can be knocked over or turned on by curious pets. Avoid leaving food on the stove that pets might try to get at.

8. After a fire, watch your pet closely. If your pet is acting lethargic or having trouble breathing, it could be a sign of smoke inhalation.

Unfortunately, sometimes despite our best efforts, house fires do happen, so if you find yourself in this situation, and you’ve had to rush out of the house with your pet, keep a close eye on them. Our animals hide pain wall, and can’t tell us when something is wrong. Always watch for signs of smoke inhalation and seek medical treatment right away. Our best advice is to have your trusted veterinarian give your pet a check up even if you don’t see the signs, just in case.

A house fire is devastating, but there are steps you can take to make it less so. Protect every member of your family – two and four-legged – with these pet fire safety tips. Stay safe all.