Home fires are an unpredictable tragedy that can be difficult to recover from. While people are capable of finding their way to safety, pets follow their instincts, which means there is more risk in protecting them during emergencies. There are special considerations you should take to give your pets the best chance of survival in the case of a fire.
As humans, we understand that we need to escape a burning building. However, our pets often revert to their instincts during stressful situations. Many animals will go into familiar hiding places thinking they are safe. They may become agitated or aggressive, making it more difficult to remove them from a fire. Understanding your pet’s behaviors will give you a better chance of saving them during an emergency.
Pet Alert Stickers
Stickers or signs that alert to the presence of animals in your home may help keep them safe. Pet alert stickers are placed on windows or doors to alert firefighters and rescue workers that your household has animals inside.
Do They Work?
There is some question as to whether pet alert stickers and signs actually help keep our animals safe. The question “How do firefighters feel about those ‘Please save our pet(s)’ stickers” on Quora.¹ Most of the responses indicate that firefighters generally ignore these signs. According to the answers, there is no way of knowing if the pet, or pets, are still alive, if the animals are even present, or if the stickers were put in place by a previous occupant. Structural damage caused by a fire makes prolonged searching dangerous, so firefighters don’t seem to put special consideration into pet alert stickers.
However, firefighters generally conduct searches during a fire, if the circumstances allow. Additionally, there are a few responses on Quora from some firefighters stating they appreciate knowing that pets may be present. Ensure that your stickers are updated to reflect the current occupants.
Pet Safety Tips
What can be done to keep our pets safe during a fire? There are a number of precautions you can do in order to prepare for the worst.
1. Note Hiding Places
If your pets hide during thunderstorms or when fireworks are set off near your home, you should take note of their preferred spaces. Animals may tuck themselves under beds, under tables, in closets, or other confined spaces in order to feel safe. During a fire, your pets may hide themselves in one of their favorite spots in an attempt to escape the danger. Knowing where your pets could be can help you and rescue workers retrieve them in time.
2. Keep Kennels Close to Entrances
Many people keep their pets in kennels or crates during the day for various reasons. The locations of where these are kept vary according to house or apartment layout. However, if possible, place kennels, crates, and other animal carriers near entrances or exits while you’re away from home. This makes finding your pets much easier for firefighters and first responders.
3. Post Pet Alert Stickers
While pet alerts may or may not be heeded depending on the level of danger, it is still important to alert firefighters to the presence of your animals. An updated sticker detailing the number of animals in your household can help rescue workers in their search.
4. Train When Possible
It is also easier for first responders to locate your pets if you train them to respond to particular commands. You or emergency personnel, if given the command word or phrase, will then be able to call your pets during the search or out of the burning building.
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