Monday, July 14, 2014 - 10:42am
To help reduce the estimated 500,000 pets affected by home fires each year, The American Kennel Club and ADT Security Services today launched the inaugural "National Pet Fire Safety Day." July 15 is declared “National Pet Fire Safety Day”. This nationwide awareness day educates pet owners about potential risks when pets are left home alone and provides them with proven prevention measures to ensure their safety.
According to a recent AKC study, 88 percent of pet owners consider their pets to be valued family members so it makes sense to include them in fire prevention plans and rescue alerts should a house fire strike. As part of National Pet Fire Safety Day, AKC and ADT have developed helpful prevention, escape and rescue tips for pet owners.
"One of the hallmarks of responsible dog ownership is keeping pets safe and planning for unexpected emergencies, including house fires," said AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson. "Pet proofing the home, developing pet-friendly escape routes and alerting rescuers of your pets presence with 'window clings’ is the best way to keep your four-legged family member from harm."
That's something Lia Wentworth of Maryland knows well. One Sunday morning she and her family left their Labrador Retriever "Justice" home alone. They didn't realize they left a pot of boiling water with plastic baby bottles on the stove. When the water evaporated, the bottles began to emit a toxic smoke. No one knew Justice was in trouble because there was no flame. Luckily, the Wentworth's had a monitored smoke detector and the firefighters were alerted. Their prompt response saved Justice's life.
"After ADT alerted us that the fire alarm had been activated, we rushed home. We had one thought the whole way there, and that was the fate of our beloved pet. The minutes passed like hours trying to get home to him," Wentworth said. "I can't describe the relief and gratitude I felt in seeing Justice playing with the firefighters in front of our home. Along with smoke alarms, I encourage everyone to have a home fire monitoring system. Ours was there when we couldn't be, and called for help because Justice couldn't. Without that system, there would literally be no Justice in this world."
"National Pet Fire Safety Day" 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.
- Since Pets Left Alone Can't Escape a Burning Home- Use monitored smoke detectors which are connected to monitoring center personnel that call the fire department.
- Affix a Pet Alert Window Cling - Write down the number of pets inside your house and attach the static cling to a front window. This critical information saves rescuers time when locating your pets. You can obtain a free window cling by going to www.adt.com/pets or at AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Days events. Details are available at www.akc.org.
- Keep Your 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 aids rescuers in finding all of your pets.
- Bernadette Galvez, 608-279-7168, firstname.lastname@example.org