HOUSTON – Did you know an estimated 500,000 pets are affected by house fires every year? Though many think of their pets as part of the family, people often forget to consider their pets when planning for emergencies. July 15 is National Pet Fire Safety Day, a holiday during which the American Kennel Club and ADT Security Services encourage pet owners to educate themselves on fire safety for their furry family members. Lieutenant Dennis Maldonado of the Community Volunteer Fire Department shares tips to help pet owners be better prepared in the event of an emergency.
“It’s very important to protect your own safety and your kids, but pets are just as important,” said Maldonado. “Many people, myself included, treat pets as part of the family so having a plan to be able to get the pets out in case of a fire is just as important.”
Tips to help you prepare for an emergency:
- Put a sign near the front door or window indicating how many pets are in the home
- Keep pets near entrances where they can be easily found; do not keep them in a room with no exit
- Find out where your pet likes to hide
- Keep a “go bag” ready with leashes, collars, food, meds, etc.
- Make your pets part of your emergency escape plan; practice with the whole family regularly
- Keep pet contact info (collars, chips, etc.) current in case they escape
While some think it’s safe to leave a pet home alone around certain hazards, Maldonado disagrees. A good rule of thumb is, if it’s not safe to leave around a small child, it’s not safe for a pet either.
“Dogs and cats and everything, they’re curious,” said Maldonado. “They see food on a kitchen stove, and they want to climb up and get that food.”
Pet owner tips to prevent house fires:
- Take steps similar to those you would for small children
- Extinguish candles or other open flames around pets
- Secure or remove stove knobs and loose wires
- Turn off and unplug all heating elements (toaster, iron, kettle, etc.)
- Test and maintain smoke detectors/home monitoring service
In the unfortunate event of a fire, there are key actions to take to help ensure the safety of every person and animal in your home.
Pasadero Drive Fire - 2/16/20
While we hope our public education and fire prevention efforts can prevent another incident like this from ever happening again in our district, we would also like to take a moment to appreciate the great men and women we have the honor of calling "our" first responders. Incidents like these are long and tiring, but these people love what they do and are passionate about producing the best outcome they can given the situation. In this case, their efforts resulted in protecting the neighboring properties and rescuing a dog from the large fire shown in the video. We have also always received great support from our civilians, and we cannot overstate how grateful we are to serve such a fine community.Posted by Community Volunteer Fire Department on Tuesday, February 18, 2020
What to do in the event of a fire:
- Take pets and “go bag” with you; secure pets via leash/kennel/etc.
- Outside may be chaotic; consider moving your pets to a safe, calm area
- If you cannot find your pet, leave the home and call their name from the outside
- NEVER go back into the home to recover your pet; let responders know there is a pet inside and where to find them
To connect with Lt. Dennis Maldonado, visit the Community Volunteer Fire Department website.