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July 7, 2022

National Pet Fire Safety Day

National Pet Fire Safety Day takes place every year on July 15, and it’s a day to learn how to keep your pet safe in the event of a fire. For many of us, pets are our most precious asset so it makes sense that we would dedicate a day to keeping them safe during one of the scariest things we can imagine.  

For instance, take this adorable kitten “Drew” pictured above. She recently used up one of her nine lives as a victim of a house fire. The only survivor of the litter, she was relinquished to Clay Humane for care. Suffering burned ears, paws, whiskers and slight smoke inhalation she is what we call a miracle. Drew, has healed remarkably and although earless, she is still precious. This sweet kitten has been placed in a forever home and visits the Society often for her follow up care.

Not all fire victims share Drew’s happy ending. Every year, approximately 40,000 pets die in residential fires-most of them from smoke inhalation. This is a tragedy that far too many pet owners aren’t prepared to deal with.

National Pet Fire Safety Day was invented in 2009 by ADT Security and the Kennel Club. These two organizations wanted to found a day that would educate pet owners about the importance of taking preventative measures to protect their homes and their pets.

While sometimes our animals can be the culprit behind devastating fires, (pets cause over 1,000 house fires each year in the US), it’s a little ironic that dogs (specifically dalmatians) have become an American icon associated with firefighters today.  Let’s briefly explore how that came to be:  a few hundred years ago, dogs were trained to trot alongside horse-drawn wagons and protect their occupants (and horses) from harm. Dalmatians quickly became the ideal carriage dog for their strength, vitality, fortitude, and size. They also had a reputation for getting along well with horses and were known to have a calming effect while firefighters were battling a blaze. Overtime as motorized fire trucks replaced carriages, Dalmatians and other fire pups were seen less aboard fire trucks and more as on-site firehouse residents and mascots.

Today, many firefighters have pet Dalmatians, and firehouses around the country still have Dalmatians as station dogs. However, Dalmatians aren’t the only dog in the firehouse. It’s become common for firefighters (and sometimes entire fire teams) to adopt dogs rescued from fires. These lucky pups, whatever their breed, become symbols of the resiliency, bravery, and fortitude of firefighters and the individuals they help. They also help firefighters demonstrate fire safety and emergency preparedness for schools and community groups across the country.

Tips to keep pets safe from house fires:

  • Extinguish Open Flames – Pets are generally curious and will investigate cooking appliances, candles, or even a fire in your fireplace. Ensure your pet is not left unattended around an open flame and make sure to thoroughly extinguish any open flame before leaving your home.
  • Pet Proof the Home – Take a walk around your home and look for areas where pets might start fires inadvertently, such as the stove knobs, loose wires and other potential hazards.
  • Secure Young Pets – Especially with young puppies, keep them confined away from potential fire-starting hazards when you are away from home.
  • Keep Pets Near Entrances – When leaving pets home alone, keep them in areas or rooms near entrances where firefighters can easily find them.
  • Practicing Escape Routes with Pets – Keep collars and leashes at the ready in case you have to evacuate quickly with your pet or firefighters need to rescue your pet.
  • Since Pets Left Alone Can’t Escape a Burning Home – Use monitored smoke detectors which are connected to a monitoring center, providing an added layer of protection beyond battery-operated smoke alarms.
  • Affix a Pet Alert Window Decal – Write down the number of pets inside your house and attach the decal to a front window. This critical information saves rescuers time when locating your pets. You can obtain a free window decal at the CLAY COUNTY HUMANE SOCIETY ANIMAL CLINIC through the remainder of the summer.
  • Keep Your Information Updated – Firefighters are familiar with pet alert window clings so keep the number of pets listed on them updated. Knowing the accurate number of pets in the house aids rescuers in finding all of your pets.

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