Do you know what you would do if your home caught on fire and your pet were inside? Have you already evaluated your home to reduce your risk of fire? With the rising heat and increased fire dangers of summer, now is a great time to make sure if the unexpected happens, both you and your pets will stay safe.

Keep Your Pet From Starting a Fire

The American Kennel Club reports pets start almost 1,000 fires every year. The National Fire Protection Association says an estimated 500,000 pets are impacted by fires that start at home.

Pets are naturally curious, and homeowners often don't realize how flammable items in the environment create a risk. A pet might accidentally start a blaze when they knock over a candle left unattended or jump up to investigate food cooking on the stove. The American Red Cross recommends taking these precautions to reduce your risk:

  • Buy flameless candles. Even if a twitching tail knocks them over, your pet stays safe.
  • Protect your cooktop. If your stove has knobs and you're leaving your pet free to roam, take the knobs off before you go.
  • Guard open flames. Never leave a fire or candle burning if you're out of the room, even if you think your pet can't reach it.
  • Consider installing a pet door if you have a fenced yard.

Have a Furry Friend Fire Drill

Gather human and animal family members to develop and practice a fire safety plan. Start by getting your pet accustomed to the sound of the fire alarm. Practice calling your pet to come to you when the alarm goes off or make a plan for retrieving your pet. Praise and reward your friend as they learn to keep the experience positive.

For dogs, keep a leash by all exits in case you need to leave quickly. Practice at all possible exits with the alarm going off, and repeat the drill frequently. It may feel chaotic and uncomfortable the first few times, but it will be worth the effort if you ever have to evacuate your pet in an emergency.

Create a Plan for Rescue Workers

When you leave your pet, it's a good idea to confine them to areas of your home that are easily accessible. Place a pet alert where it's easy to see that lets rescue workers know how many pets you have and where to find them. That way, if something happens when you're at work, emergency responders can act quickly.