VALDOSTA – Friday, July 15, is recognized as National Pet Fire Safety Day and Lowndes County Fire Rescue along with Lowndes County Animal Services have teamed up to bring awareness to the day.
The nationwide awareness day educates pet owners about potential risks when pets are left home alone and provides proven prevention measures to ensure their safety, county officials said.
Here are a few tips for pet owners from American Kennel Club to ensure their pets are safe from house fires:
Extinguish open flames. Pets are generally curious and will investigate cooking appliances, candles or even a fire in the fireplace. Ensure a pet is not left unattended around an open flame and make sure to thoroughly extinguish any open flame before leaving home.
Pet-proof the home. Take a walk around the 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 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 having to evacuate quickly with the pet or firefighters need to rescue the pet.
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 cling. Write down the number of pets inside the house and attach the static cling to a front window. This critical information saves rescuers time when locating pets. A free window cling is available by going to www.adt.com/pets or at AKC Responsible Dow Ownership Days events. Details are available at www.alc.org.
Keep 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 pets.
Lowndes County Fire Rescue Chief Lloyd Green said pets are often overlooked when discussing fire safety but they need protection, too.
“We focus a lot on fire prevention and fire safety education but oftentimes we don’t think about our pets and how they are involved in fire safety,” he said.
“It is important for residents to include their pets in the fire escape plan in the event they experience a fire in their home.”