Mom’s greatest fear is a house fire and we have to evacuate quickly, or worse, a fire breaks out when Beau and I are home alone.
Naturally occurring wildfires, which are somewhat customary out west during the summer and fall, are now exploding more often and with a greater intensity than ever before.
More than ever, pet parents need to have a plan of what to do in case you have to evacuate quickly to save yourself and your pets.
Be prepared has been one of mom’s mantras since she heard it in the Girl Scouts! And being prepared will help A LOT were you ever put into a situation of escaping a fire – either within your home or threatening your property and community. Most often you will have no warning and will have to “grab and go” to escape – so let’s be prepared!
Preventative Measures Within The Home
All homes need to have monitored smoke detectors – meaning they are connected to an alarm company and the fire department so that if a fire breaks out, the alarm company will call the fire department immediately. This is very important, particularly, if a fire breaks out when us pets are home alone. Or a fire starts in the middle of the night while everyone is asleep…yikes!
Fire “pet proof” your house inside…in other words, go around your home and look for ways that your pet can start a fire.
Beau once sat on the stove’s control panel and turned the oven on! Digital controls present a new set of issues so be prepared and lock your stovetop and oven panel. Our control panel has been locked ever since unless in use.
Check for electrical and cable cords as many pets like to chew on them (Beau is guilty) and find ways to discourage that behavior. Fires have started because of frayed wires, as well as pets being electrocuted. They make “cable/cord covers” today for this exact problem.
Take care with candles and never leave them unattended with pets around – one tail swish and that candle can be knocked over and start a fire. Mom has banned the use of lit candles in our house unless it’s the dinner table and they are blown out quickly at the end of the meal.
Prepare An Emergency Plan
Prepare your pet’s emergency travel kit with food, water, medicines, supplies, vet’s information and vaccination history, microchip company details, recent “straight on” photos of your pet in case it gets lost somehow during the crisis, leash and harness set for each pet with their name tags attached, also all carriers should have name tags as well.
The internet is full of checklists recommending what to include in your pet’s kit. Do your research so you can have peace of mind that nothing has been forgotten if you had to “grab and go”.
Investigate which animal hospitals are open 24/7 in your surrounding area – and keep those numbers in your phone and written out in the pet’s kit.
Also check out hotels/motels in your area that accept pets – and keep that information handy as you will might need to find a new place to stay if you have a house fire depending upon your family and friends’ ability to take you and your pets in.
And most of all – have a plan for each fire scenario…it’s important to consolidate the carriers and travel kits in one place so they can be accessed quickly. Remember to stay calm as you search for us kitties as we may have gone into hiding – so pay attention to where we like to snooze or hide as you search for us.
Always keep a Rescue Sticker Alert on your front door to alert firefighters that you have pets inside so they can look for them right away (particularly if you are not home) – you want them to save your pets first!
And most importantly, if you have to evacuate from a wildfire, take your pets with you for all the reasons we can imagine. It has been a problem that shelters would not take evacuees with pets – but there has been tremendous public blow-back on that policy – and mom thinks that might be changing. Nevertheless it’s important to talk to family and friends to see if you could go stay with them in case of an emergency, or know that hotel and/or motel that takes pets.