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How to Save Your Dog From a Fire

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Fire! This is one word any person dreads hearing, especially if the fire comes in the middle of the night, when all are asleep, including the family pets. Do you know how to save your dog from a fire?

Fidose of Reality PR (Puppy Relations) Manager, Dexter, and his Wigglebutt Warrior paw-tner in crime and doggie wife, Zoe, took on their latest mission with fire safety for pets this weekend. In order to obtain their Fire House Tour badge  as part Pupscouts of DPFamily, Troop 4, Dexter and Zoe set forth to visit the Kingston Fire Department here in Kingston, Pennsylvania, recently.

Background

According to Assistant Fire Chief, Charlie Bloom, the Kingston, Pennsylvania, Fire Department rescues both people and pets from fires. They have pet oxygen masks and in the past year, there have been several pet rescues from burning structures, mainly to rescue cats.

The Kingston Fire Department is one of only a few departments of its size capable of providing Advanced Life Support within its own agency. The Kingston Fire Department, under the direction of Chief Frank Guido, is a combination department consisting of twenty-three career firefighters including the Chief and approximately thirty active volunteers. In terms of fire responsiveness, this department responded to over 3,000 incidents in 2008, and they continue to grow each year.

On Saturday, September 7, 2013, two  dogs stepped forward with Pup Scout uniforms in an effort to gain the inside track on what pet parents can do to keep their dogs safe before, during, and after a fire.

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Planning for Pooches

Having a plan in place in the event of fire is crucial, according to Bloom. “People need to prepare for a fire, practice evacuating and a safety plan, and include family pets in them,” he says.

To that end, families with pets can rely on resources like those provided by Dayna Hilton and her fire safety dogs. The National Center on Health Statistics reports that there has been a consistent decline in child mortality from fire over the past decade. Children playing with fire accounts for a very large portion of child fire deaths. In the event of a fire, both children and pets need to have a safety plan in place: both rely on the adult family members to ensure there is a plan.

Here’s Dexter and Zoe with a step by step of what you need to do ahead of time:

Prevent fires from starting in the first place

Look around your abode and see if there are any potential fire hazards by which curious dog or wagging tail can instigate a fire. Things like loose wires and burning candles are obvious triggers, but so are more discrete things like stove knobs. Keep dogs and cats away from potential hazards.

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Have an escape plan in place

Plan for what you will do in the event of an emergency due to fire. I keep Dexter’s collar and leash near my bed in the event we have to evacuate quickly.  Pets in fear will often run away or bolt, so try to remain calm and keep your pet with you. Know your evacuation route ahead of time.

Pet Inside Stickers

Remember those tot finder stickers on the windows of homes that many of us grew up seeing? Folks use similar stickers to indicate there is a pet inside. Assistant Fire Chief Bloom tells Fidose of Reality they have had problems with those stickers.

“Sometimes, there is no pet inside at all,” Bloom says. “Firefighters risk their lives to try and find a pet trapped or hiding in a burning home, when in fact, there may not be a pet there.”

Apparently people forget to remove the stickers in the event their pet passes away or they no longer have the pet. It is important to keep the sticker visible and even more important to remove the sticker if a pet parent no longer has a pet.

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Dexter and Zoe get a treat from the Assistant Fire Chief.

Smoke Alarms and Monitored Smoke Alarms

We know of at least two people who have lost their dogs due to a house fire. In both circumstances, the dog was home alone. Pets left alone are unable to escape a burning home. Sadly, one of the pets inside was found in the bathtub but succumbed to smoke inhalation.

Consider using a monitored smoke detector that is connected to an emergency response center where folks on hand can call the fire department in the event you are not home but your pet is.

Always ensure that smoke detectors are working properly and have working batteries installed.

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Escape Routes

This thought ruminates in our minds here at Fidose of Reality when we are trying to sleep at night: What should we do if a fire happens and we wake up to smoke and/or flames? Having an emergency escape route is of utmost importance. Remember, pets may panic in times of stress, so your panic can instigate their fears. Be as calm as possible but have an escape route in place.

Locking your dog in a kennel or enclosed room actually can cause more harm than good. They will have no means by which to escape. Having a pet door installed allows dogs to more easily get out. Know where your pets like to nap or hide in case you must evacuate your home quickly.

Some pet parents I know have an escape ladder that can be used from second floor windows to the ground safety.

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Pet Water and Food Dishes Can Ignite Fires

According to National Fire Protection Association , use stainless steel or ceramic pet water dishes on your wooden deck. Filtered and heated through glass and water, the sun’s rays can ignite the wood beneath the bowl.

Want to become a Pup Scout? Here’s how: http://www.pupscouts.org/

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Do you have a fire escape/fire safety plan in place for your pets?

 

 

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13 Comments

  1. Great post and all great tips. I just talked to a friend yesterday who has a friend whose cat knocked over a candle and started a fire at their home. Luckily the cat was OK but the owner seriously reflected about leaving candles burning while she’s not home. I’m going to look into getting a monitored fire alarm ASAP!

  2. Great post and tips. We have often wondered if people really have pets that have those pet stickers. One of the most interesting things was the water bowl on a wood deck! Luckily we have stainless steel. I was at the fire dept. on my own, it was fun crawling around the truck but they did not let me drive!

  3. Such wonderful tips! We have a pet inside sticker, but I never thought about what could happen if it wasn’t updated. I will absolutely make sure it is always up to date. I have also never heard of pupscouts, but it sure looks rewarding and fun!

  4. Great tips! I’ve always wondered if firemen looked for those stickers. Does anyone else have the problem with the sun bleaching out the ink marks indicating the number of pets?

    1. Yes, I do. The assistant fire chief I talked to tells me that firemen don’t always use the “pets inside” stickers. If the owner is in the area and says their pet is inside, they will do their best to save lives. I update mine yearly anyways. I’d rather err on the side of safety.

  5. What great tips!
    I won’t let mommy leave my water bowl on the the deck in the sun anymore. Thank you for the great info, I will pass it on.
    Oink, oink. Bacon

  6. I wish we had a PupScouts in the Nashville area to encourage more dog owners to do things like visit a firehouse!!! A few others I know have also taken their dogs to firehouses and police stations to familiarize their dogs with uniforms and their scary vehicles. It’s really good to do if you have any dogs that will actually guard your house and are big enough to do the job. Uniforms are one thing they shouldn’t be afraid of, but too many dogs actually are because of the attachments on their clothing. Our trainer years ago that suggested it was a firefighter that also trained police and rescue dogs.

    It’s so wonderful of you to spread your experience of the visit to let others know these helpful tips! Hopefully it will encourage others to take their dogs for visits as well!

    1. You can form your own troop if you like. If you head on over to pupscouts.org, they have all the details on forming your own!

  7. I have a plan in place in my head should a fire occur during the night.

    My big concern is always what if something happens when we are not home? 🙁

  8. Like Jodi, my big concern is something happening when we’re not home. Before I found our wonderful pet sitter(s), Callie & Shadow spent their days in the back yard while we were at work. Now, though, with all the dog “flipping” going on — and having some neighbors who can’t be trusted — I feel the dogs are safer inside the house. I don’t even let them stay outside w/o one of us in the yard with them! Pretty sad that things have gotten to that point; but I need the fresh air anyway.

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