When a human baby begins to crawl, its’ parents know it is time to finish baby-proofing the house. Funny enough, when you have pets, there are also steps you should take to make sure that they will be safe in your home. As with baby-proofing, pet-proofing can help prevent injuries and save lives. For National Pet Fire Safety Day (July 15th in the U.S.), let’s take a look at some pet fire hazards so that you can pet-proof areas around your home to hopefully avoid a fire which could result in serious damage or harm.
Of course, there are some obvious fire hazards around your home, but there are a few you may not have considered.
Pet Fire Hazard #1 - Candles
Be careful lighting candles when pets could be in the room. Even when the candle is placed on a higher shelf or table, they can get knocked over or landed on by a jumping cat. There are many flameless candle versions sold in stores that would eliminate this risk.
Pet Fire Hazard #2 – Fireplaces and Wood Stoves
Another source of obvious pet fire danger is the home fireplace or woodstove. When winter’s chill makes its way to us, nothing seems cozier than a warm, crackling fireplace to snuggle in front of. To reduce the risk of embers landing on your pet (or you) place a fire screen in front of the fireplace. Also, since this area can become very hot, you may wish to put up an additional gate or folding fence to keep your pet away from the flames and heat.
Pet Fire Hazard #3 – Kitchen Stove
For stoves or ranges with front panel knobs, it may be necessary to remove the knobs so that they are not accidentally bumped, thus, turning on the burner. It sounds pretty crazy, but there have been news stories about this exact thing happening to a man when his dog jumped up to swipe a piece of pizza from atop the stove, turned on the burner, which caused a fire, and another similar scenario involving a dog and pancakes left on a stove-top. Think about this too, a cat who tends to jump up onto your counter tops could easily knock something onto an active stovetop or step across a hot burner unintentionally causing injury. Take a look at your stove setup and see how to make it safer for your pet.
Pet Fire Hazard #4 – Outdoor Grills and Firepits
You know how good it smells when someone is cooking food on a grill in the summer. Well, your pet thinks it smells good too. Never leave your grill unattended around pets. They could burn themselves or knock the grill over completely while going for a juicy steak and ruin the party for sure. The same danger of a fireplace exists for a firepit outdoors. Moisture evaporating and other things from firewood can cause popping embers to fly out unexpectedly, burning your pet. Make sure your pets stay a safe distance from any flame or leave them inside once a grill or firepit is lit.
Pet Fire Hazard #5 – Electrical Cords
It is very common for animals to chew on everything when they are young, but when your pets chew on your electrical cords, it can be dangerous. You should keep cords out of reach and train your pet to stay away from those areas. If that is ineffective you could use a deterrent spray or use cord wraps to manage the cables.
A few last thoughts…
In the event of a fire, you will want to know as soon as possible. Smoke alarms save lives and it is recommended to have smoke alarms installed inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. To ensure that the battery is fresh, change it out every 6 months. Simply plan to replace when daylight savings begins and ends each year as an easy reminder. Also, safety experts recommend that you purchase fire extinguishers for multiple locations in your home and replace them at least every 10 years. For very little investment, you could be able to put out a small fire on your own and reduce the amount of damage and injuries.
With these pet fire hazards in mind now, take a look around your home and see how you can make it safer for your pet and from fires.