7/15/2014 - Keep your pet protected this 'Pet Fire Safety Day'
If a fire were to occur in the home, how would you be able to ensure your pet's safety?
This is a question that the American Kennel Club hopes every pet owner will ask themselves on July 15 - Pet Fire Safety Day. The AKC launched the awareness campaign back in 2009 in an effort to arm pet owners with the proper preparation they need should a fire impact their residence.
As most are well aware, numerous residential fires occur throughout the country on an annual basis, most of them damaging enough to require a homeowners insurance claim. In fact, based on data from the AKC, 500,000 pets are affected by home fires every year. Perhaps due to cats' or dogs' playfulness, 1,000 of these are accidentally started by pets themselves, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
Lisa Peterson, AKC spokesperson, indicated every emergency plan should include preparations on how to get their four-legged friends out of harm's way.
"One of the hallmarks of responsible dog ownership is keeping pets safe and planning for unexpected emergencies, including house fires," said Lisa Peterson, AKC spokesperson. "Pet proofing the home, developing pet-friendly escape routes and alerting rescuers of your pets' presence with 'window clings' is the best way to keep your four-legged family member from harm."
Fire safety measures all pet owners should take
There are a variety of other strategies pet owners can implement to help guarantee the safety of their dog or cat should flames ever break out. One of them is taking a walk through the house to see what potential fire hazards there are. For example, dogs often love to get on their hind legs to greet their owners after coming home from work. And cats are known for jumping onto appliances. A good way to avoid a potential accident is by purchasing knob covers for the stove if they're in a position where they could be turned on, AKC advised.
Fire safety officials recommend that homeowners go through scenarios with their family that charts out how they would escape the home in the event of a fire. AKC noted that cats and dogs should be included in these plans, determining the best route that would lead to their safety and well-being.
AKC also recommended the use of window clings, which as its name suggests, are self-adhesive and applied to glass. By writing down the number of pets there are in the house, this will give firefighters the information they need to know in order to locate them if they are unable to make it out with the rest of the family.
Nearly 57% of households have a dog and just under half - 45% - have a cat, according to the latest APPA survey. For more information on homeowners insurance and keeping pets safe, talk to a local independent Selective agent.