Sunday, February 14, 2010

Where There's Smoke...

Did you know?

According to the US Fire Administration's website (, more than 1.7 million uncontrolled fires occur annually in the US. The Fire Administration does not keep tally, but other groups have estimated that more than 500,000 pets are killed by house fires each year. Why are we so good at saving human lives, but our pets seem to perish?

Let me tell you why.

Human lives are saved from a tragic end in house fires every year because of mandatory use of smoke detectors. Unfortunately, the sharp, unfamiliar noise designed to alert people also scares our pets causing them to go find a "safe" place to hide making it more difficult, and even dangerous, to find them in a scary situation.

But even smoke alarms in good working order won't save pets whose owners are not home to let them out. Sadly, many pets die simply because they were trapped inside.

To help prevent the loss of your pet, the first steps start with you, the pet owner. Prevent potential problems by "pet-proofing" your home and looking for fire hazards. Consider confining younger puppies and kittens when you aren't home as a means of preventing them from accidentally starting a fire.

Experts recommend that pets left at home should be kept in rooms on the lower level, near entrances, so that fire fighters can find them more quickly and easily. Window clings that alert fire fighters to the presence of pets are also a good idea. Newer clings can be taken down and edited as your pet family grows!

Practice "fire drills" with your family and include the pets. Keep collars and leashes handy and know your escape routes. Pets left home alone can't escape on their own. The use of smoke detectors connected to monitoring centers can greatly increase their chances of survival in the event of a fire. Monitored smoke detectors can also protect cherished possessions in addition to saving your four legged friends.

Responsible pet ownership includes planning for unexpected emergencies. A house fire is a prime example of how devastating and deadly these emergencies can be.

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