After more than a year of nearly constant companionship, many pet parents are preparing to leave their pets at home while they transition back to the office. With more time away from home, it’s important for families to be prepared in the event of a fire.
As COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, a vast majority of pet owners (91%) said they will leave pets home alone more often, according to a survey conducted online by The Harris Poll. Of those, more than 1 in 3 (35%) said they are nervous about doing so.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, 500,000 pets suffer from smoke inhalation and 40,000 die due to home fires.
“We know people will do anything to keep their furry family safe,” said Sharon Cooksey, who works as a fire safety educator. “We’re committed to ensuring pet owners are equipped with the right products, resources, tools and confidence to prepare their family members – both two- and four-legged – in the event of an emergency as we transition to more time out of the home.”
Include pets in fire escape plans. Pets should always be included in a family’s evacuation plan. Stay aware of their typical hiding spots or locations where they often nap in case you must evacuate quickly. When you are not home, keep pets in areas near entrances where firefighters can easily find them.
Train pets to appropriately respond to alarms. In the event of an emergency, ensure your pets are familiar with the sound of smoke alarms. According to celebrity pet trainer Sara Carson, you should pair the sound with a command that instructs your pets to proceed “outside” or whichever term you use to identify the best way for them to exit the home. As you practice the routine, reward your pets for positive responses.
“As a proud dog mom of five super collies, I know pets are like our family, so it’s important we take proactive steps to keep them safe in the event of a home fire,” Carson said. “To successfully train your pets, make sure you keep training fun, short and always end on a good note.”
Use window clings to alert first responders. In an emergency, first responders need to be able to quickly assess the number of pets in a home. Consider attaching a non-adhesive decal to a window near your front door to let rescuers know how many animals are inside.
Maintain smoke alarms. Smoke alarms must be replaced after 10 years. In addition to testing alarms once each week, check the manufacturing date on your alarms to make sure they are current. If they are older than 10 years, it’s time to replace them.