Friday, July 12, 2013 - 4:52am
In 2010, an estimated 500,000 pets are affected annually by home fires, however, nearly 1,000 house fires each year are accidentally started by the homeowners' pets, according to a new data analysis by the National Fire Protection Association.
The American Kennel Club® (AKC®) and ADT Security Services have joined forces once again for the third annual National Pet Fire Safety Day (July 15) to spread awareness about how pets can start home fires but more importantly how to prevent them.
"Not many pet owners realize that their pet can actually be the cause of a devastating fire," said AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson. "Simple preventative measures, such as flameless candles and stove knob covers, can mean the difference between life and death for your four-legged friends."
Chris and Kay Wardlow of Oklahoma know that all too well. Their curious dog Lucy was home alone and spied a cake on the stove top. As Lucy tried to get a taste, her paw accidentally hit the stove knob and turned on the gas burner that was under the cake pan. Within minutes, the house was filled with smoke, triggering the Wardlow's ADT monitored smoke detector. Firefighters were called to the scene, the house was saved and Lucy was rescued.
"Planning for unexpected emergencies like home fires and taking these precautions are an integral part of responsible pet ownership," Peterson said.
AKC® and ADT offer the following tips to educate pet owners on how to prevent your beloved pet from starting a fire, as well as how to keep your pets safe.
Prevent your pet from starting 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.
• Remove stove knobs - Be sure to remove stove knobs or protect them with covers before leaving the house. According to the National Fire Protection Association, a stove or cook top is the number one piece of equipment involved in your pet starting a fire.
• Invest in flameless candles - These candles contain a light bulb rather than an open flame, and take the danger out of your pet knocking over a candle. Cats are notorious for starting fires when their tails turn over lit candles.
• Beware of water bowls on wooden decks - Do not leave a glass water bowl for your pet outside on a wooden deck. The sun's rays when filtered through the glass and water can actually heat up and ignite the wooden deck beneath it. Choose stainless steel or ceramic bowls instead.
Keep your pets safe
• Keep Pets Near Entrances When Away From Home - Keep collars on pets and leashes at the ready in case firefighters need to rescue your pet. When leaving pets home alone, keep them in areas or rooms near entrances where firefighters can easily find them.
• Secure Young Pets - Especially with young puppies, keep them confined away from potential fire-starting hazards when you are away from home such as in crates or behind baby gates in secure areas.
• Since Pets Left Alone Can't Escape a Burning Home - Consider using monitored smoke detectors which are connected to a monitoring center so emergency responders can be contacted when you're not home. These systems provide an added layer of protection beyond battery-operated smoke alarms.
- Benadette Galvez, 608-279-7168
- , 608-261-9844