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JoAnna Lou
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National Pet Fire Safety Day
Free stickers and tips to protect you and your pets

According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly 1,000 house fires each year are accidentally started by pets.

I never really thought about it before, but between my cats jumping on the counters and my dogs zooming past tables, I can see how this can be more common than I’d like to think about. I pretty much avoid candles for this reason, but I had no idea how easy it is for a cat or dog to turn on the stove.

To create awareness on this topic, the American Kennel Club (AKC), ADT Security Services and the National Volunteer Fire Council have teamed up for this Thursday’s National Pet Fire Safety Day.

The AKC has provided the following tips to help protect your home and loved ones from accidental fire:

  • Extinguish open flames - Don’t leave your pets unattended around an open flame and make sure to thoroughly extinguish any open flame before leaving your home.
    • Remove stove knob- Be sure to remove stove knobs or protect them with covers before leaving the house.
    • 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.
  • Avoid glass water bowls on wooden decks – The sun’s rays when filtered through glass water bowls can heat up and ignite the wooden deck.  Choose stainless steel or ceramic bowls instead. 
  • Keep pets near entrances when you're out – 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.
  • Consider using monitored smoke detectors - Monitored smoke detectors, which are connected to a monitoring center, allow emergency responders to be contacted when your pets are trapped. These systems provide an added layer of protection beyond battery-operated smoke alarms.
  • Affix a Pet Alert Window Cling – Write down the number of pets inside your house and attach the static cling to a front window. This critical information saves rescuers time when locating your pets. Make sure to update the number of pets listed.

If you need a Pet Alert Window Cling, the National Volunteer Fire Council is distributing them for free through local volunteer firehouses nationwide.  The clings are also free online through ADT and will be available this September at your local AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day.  The ASPCA also distributes free alert stickers on their website.

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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

Photo by ADT.

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