There are a few things that pet owners can do when it comes to preparedness, and most of it begins with small things that can go a long way during an emergency. First and foremost you should assure that responders to your home are aware of the type and number of pets you have inside. Affixing a pet rescue decal to your door frame or a window in the front AND rear of your home is a great indicator. But, make sure it’s updated and accurate, so if you add or loose a pet make sure you change the sticker. Second, if you own dogs always keep a spare leash (slipleashes are great) right near your front door, that way if you are able to evacuate with your pets or a firefighter is able to access your house, everyone can quickly and easily get a dog leashed. If you’re a cat owner, consider leaving at least one cat carrier in a front closet or easy-to-grab area by your doorway. And lastly, know where your pets may go in the event they are stressed or scared. Do your cats have a particular hiding space under a bed? Are your dogs likely to run out of the house if a door is open for them? Is there a safe space on your property far enough away from your home that you can move your pets do while emergency responders are on scene?
A lot of preventative measures rely on what you are doing to make sure your home is safe from potential fire causes. Many people enjoy lighting candles all-year-round, but remember they should never be left unattended, and should never be at a height or in a place where pets may get at them. Some of us leave the heaters on for pets when we aren’t home in the winter, but you should always assure that bedding, toys, and other pet items are far away (at least 5 feet or more) from any potential heat sources. And never, ever, leave a fire burning in your fire place when you aren’t home!
And remember that part of preparedness for emergencies is making a plan for if something happens when you aren’t home. Make sure that a neighbor is aware of the types of pets you own, and has contact information for you as well as another person in an emergency. It helps to keep collars on animals even when they are home because not only can it help if they need to be evacuated from a structure, but collars should have identification tags on them as well. And finally, microchipping your pets is truly the best way to assure they will be reunited with you if they go missing. Many times pets recognize the danger and stress of a fire and will escape a home by running through an open doorway or other exist. Often times people on scene may not even know that they got out because of the activity happening. If your pet isn’t microchipped they could get brought to an animal hospital or a nearby shelter and not be identified, but nearly all veterinary practices and animal shelters have microchip scanners and will scan any animal that is brought to them or picked up by them.
Remember that as with everything, preparedness and prevention is the key to keeping you and your pets safe and sound during an emergency! Have questions or looking for more tips? Contact us any time at firstname.lastname@example.org!