In the story The Jungle Book, fire was referred to as the “red flower”, and all the animals were terrified of it. For any of you who have witnessed the devastation of an uncontrolled fire or the heartbreak and agony of a burn victim, human, or animal, you can relate to the natural fear animals have of fire.
In 2009, The American Kennel Club and ADT Security Services established July 15th as National Pet Fire Safety Day. An estimated 500,000 pets are affected each year by home fires and nearly a 1,000 house fires are accidentally started by homeowners’ pets.
Let me tell you our story.
Our summer house is on an island. Since we are the only ones on the island, we used to leave our sliding door open so that our dog, Zoey, could come and go as she wished. One day as I approached the island, she didn’t come out to greet me. I could hear high pitched barking, but I did not see Zoey.
When I docked the boat and entered the house, the first thing I noticed was how hot it was. The second thing I noticed was the disorder, and the third thing was my 15lb dog up on the kitchen counter. (I didn’t even think she could jump that high!)
Apparently, there had been some very LOUD construction booms that had really frightened Zoey. Our kitchen counters have a built in touch screen stovetop, and in her frightened scurrying, she had walked on the controls and turned it on.
Thank goodness that no one, including Zoey, was injured, and nothing was damaged. Now we turn off the breaker to the stove when we leave her alone.
Since my experience with Zoey, I have read an article where someone set a cake to cool on a stove top with gas burners and when the dog stood on her hind legs to get a taste her front paw accidentally hit the stove knob and turned on the gas burner under the cake pan. It only took minutes for the house to fill with smoke. Smoke alarms alerted the family and all turned out well except for the resulting mess and a destroyed cake.
So, let’s look at a few simple precautions that may save you and your pet from an accidental fire:
• Extinguish all open flames, burners, ovens, etc., when you go out. Consider flameless candles.
• Remove stove knobs. These are the #1 piece of equipment involved in pet related fires.
• For touch top stoves, turn off the breaker if you have a pet that might get on the stove top.
• Secure your fireplace, space heaters and electric cords.
• Do not leave glass water bowls outside on a wooden deck. When the sun’s rays are filtered through the glass, the water can heat up and ignite the wooden deck beneath it.
All families should have a fire evacuation plan.
Be sure to include your pets in your plan! Stop by Pet Street and pick up a “Save My Pet” decal so firefighters know you have animals in the house.
For more information on fire safety, please give us a call at (607) 336-7387.