A house fire is one of many people’s biggest nightmares. Unfortunately, they are an all-too-common occurrence, destroying property, businesses, and lives, including those of our pets. Estimates suggest that around 40,000 pets in the U.S. die in fires every year, principally from smoke inhalation.
Fires can be caused by a wide range of different things, including open flames, unsupervised cooking equipment, BBQ’s and faulty wiring. However, it surprises many pet owners to discover that animals are just as often responsible for accidentally causing fires as humans are. Some recent examples we have seen in the news include a cat who jumped on a shelf and knocked lit candles onto a mattress and a dog who pulled his bed up against a space heater, which then ignited and started a house fire!
July 15th was National Pet Fire Safety Day, and what better way to highlight the relationship between pets and house fires than by giving you some tips on how to prevent them?
Eliminate open flames
The most obvious way to reduce the likelihood of your pet causing a fire is to eliminate the use of open flames in your home. Swap real candles for flameless varieties where possible, or if you do still want to use the real thing, make sure to place it as far out of their reach as possible and never leave it unattended, not even for a moment.
Protect your stove
Experts agree that stoves and cooktops are the primary cause of all fires started by pets. This is largely because many of them can be switched on simply by your furbaby leaning against the knobs or turning them accidentally. If you have a pet that can reach counter height, either by jumping, standing or walking over the top, consider removing stove knobs when it is not in use. Even better, turn it off at the wall.
Tuck electrical cords away
Most pets love to chew, and an electrical cord is an ideal thing for them to get their teeth into. However, when electrical wires become damaged they are more likely to spark and cause either a life-threatening electrocution or start a fire. Switch off electricals at the wall wherever possible and unplug and store the cords out of reach of your pet.
Don’t use glass water bowls on decking
Most people know that magnification can cause fires to occur. Well, the reflection of light through glass bowls onto decking can also generate enough heat to ignite wooden decking. Instead, opt for stainless steel or ceramic dishes.
Don’t let your pet use an electric blanket
Electric blankets may seem like a great idea for keeping your animal warm in winter, but their use does increase the risk of a house fire. This is because they have the potential to overheat and catch fire, or for pets to chew exposed wires and cause an electrical fault.
Check your smoke detectors
While you can take steps such as those described above to help prevent fires caused by pets, it is just as important that you have an adequate warning system to alert you should any fire still occur. This means regularly checking your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors and replacing the batteries twice a year. You should also replace the detectors themselves at least every 10 years as studies show that the sensors become less effective over time.
For more information, contact us and schedule an appointment.