One nightmare that we all hope never turns to a reality is having your pet trapped in your home during a fire. Every firefighter, first responder, and EMT will tell you to leave your pet and get yourself to safety. The logic is clear and that advice should be taken. However, that is much easier said than done. For some, leaving a pet behind is like leaving a child behind. You’d rather harm come to you than your innocent animal.
So to prevent that decision from ever being made, there are some steps you can take to protect your dog in a fire.
For starters, prevention is the best way to never have to decide between your own wellbeing and your dogs.
Believe it or not, your pet can actually be the cause of the fire. Your goal should be to train them or remove the ability to have them start a fire.
Prevention Method #1 - No Candles
Scented candles are commonplace at many homes. Unfortunately they are also commonplace at the start of many house fires. It is extremely easy to forget that you lit a candle in one room and did not blow it out. Forgetting this allows you to have an open flame burning in your home for an extended period of time.
Your dog may get curious and reach on the counter that houses that candle. This gives them the ability to knock the candle down, setting fire to the carpet, drapes or anything flammable nearby. Instead, use flameless candles that use a light bulb instead of a real wick.
Prevention Method #2 - Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen
Some dogs like counter-surfing. If your dog is tall enough to do this, then they are tall enough to turn on the stove accidentally. In fact, the NFPA states that this is the number one way in which pets cause fires. You have a few options in order to prevent this. The first is to remove stove knobs when you leave the house. The second is to rigorously train your dog to not counter-surf. Your final prevention option is the crate them when they are unattended in the house.
Prevention Method #3 - Avoid Glass Bowls On the Deck
Remember that kid who enjoyed burning ants with the magnifying glass? Well those same scientific properties apply to glass dog bowls on a wood deck. The heat from the sun filtered through the water and glass can ignite the wood beneath the bowl. Stick with stainless steel, ceramic, or a non-transparent plastic bowl.
Let’s say you’ve done everything to prevent your dog from causing the fire and the situation of a fire in your home does arise.
There are a number of ways to protect your dog as best as you can without putting yourself in harm’s way.
Leashes by the Door
Keeping collars, leashes, and harnesses by the door is convenient not only for walks, but for first responders. The vast majority of dogs will wait near doors that exit the home, because they can sense danger and want to get out. By having the leashes near the door, first responders can lead your pet to safety.
Having a doggy door not only lets your dog enjoy freedom to use bathroom when they want, but it also provides them with an escape route.
Monitored Smoke Detectors
One of the most helpless feelings will occur when a fire starts while you are away from home. Fire-prone area residents should consider installing monitored smoke detectors so that first responders can be notified immediately when a fire occurs, even if you’re not home. This allows them to get to the home quicker and have a much better chance of saving your dog.
Know Where Your Pets Hide
One instinct of many dogs is to hide when they are afraid. This makes it extremely difficult for first responders to locate them. Start making a mental note of your dog’s favorite nap or hiding places. You can let the first responders know the rooms and objects they may be hiding in or under to make rescue efforts quicker.
Pet Decal Stickers
Finally, it is a good idea to purchase or obtain pet stickers for first responders. These decals can be stuck to windows or doors near the entrance of your home. On them, first responders can see how many pets and what types of pets are inside in the event that you are incapacitated.