Emergencies, though scary to think about, can happen. With anything, proactiveness and preparation can be key in shaping your positive outcome. In celebration of National Pet Fire Safety Day on July 15, we wanted to switch gears and provide some information on how to best protect your pet, your residence, and yourself with regards to fire. We reached out to Chief Fire Prevention Officer Dean Olstad with Kamloops Fire Rescue to gain some further insight and tips.
Your residence is your oasis and most likely is the place where your pet feels most secure and comfortable. With that, they can become over-comfortable and even curious leading to further exploration within. The simple act of your dog jumping their paws onto the counter knocking a combustible, such as paper towel, onto the stove where you are cooking or your cat chewing an exposed wire, while you read a book nearby, could lead to catastrophic results.
Chief Olstad has these tips to offer to help protect your pets, yourself, your fellow neighbours, and possessions safe from fire:
Remove combustibles from countertops, nearby cooking devices, and heat sources
Attempt to discourage your pets from leaping up or walking along counter or fireplace areas
Keep candles, lamps, space heaters, heated hair styling devices and more turned off and tucked away safely while you are not home (if possible, turn to using battery operated items)
Keep electrical cords safely tucked away to reduce the impulse to chew upon and cause damage to the cords/outlets
Test your smoke alarm monthly to ensure it is in good service
Protect glass screens on fireplaces with metal screens to avoid your pets from burns from the hot surfaces should they come closer to investigate the dancing flame within
Advise your landlord of any pets within so they can keep a list alongside their tenant list to review with fire officials after a building has been cleared to ensure all were accounted for (please note, humans will take priority over animals in terms of locating and assisting during a fire)
Forest Fires are a true and rising threat within some of the more rural areas of British Columbia and Alberta. Pre-prepare a go-bag for yourself and your pet in the case of an emergency evacuation. This go-bag should include additional leashes, food, treats, water, copies of vaccinations, medications, a photo of your pet, should it go missing, and you need to request the assistance of others to help find the frightened animal, a list of pet-friendly accommodations nearby should you be unable to return home and your vet's emergency contact information.
On a final note, your safety is number one. Should you encounter a fire, focus on getting yourself and your family outside to your assembly area safely. If you are easily able, grab your pet(s) to take with you. Do not spend time looking for ones who may be frightened, hiding, or have taken off elsewhere within the building. Do not go back inside the building once you have safely cleared it. Firefighters attending the scene have the proper equipment and training to enter a building experiencing smoke and flame. If it is safe to do so, they will assist you in looking for your pet and returning it to you.
Should you have additional questions regarding your pet's safety and how best to mitigate possible ignition sources, please contact your local fire department.