Protect Your Pet In Case of Home Fire – Give Your Pet A Chance!

February 22, 2008 at 4:51 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Thousands of our beloved pets die needlessly each year because of home fires.  Firemen arrive to a burning home and perform heroic deeds and rescue the folks trapped inside.  All too often, they forget about the pets.  Nothing brings joy to our hearts as when we see on TV a fireman carrying a dog out of a burning home.  One way to minimize your pets chances of survival during a fire is to post a sticker on your window to let people know that there are pets in the home.  This alerts the rescuers that the animals may need to be rescued.

 The ASPCA is offering a ‘Free Pet Safety Pack”.  In the pack is a window decal  that alerts rescue personnel that pets are inside your home. Also included is an ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center magnet—a great way to keep the APCC’s toll-free emergency number and website address handy in case your pets get into something they shouldn’t!

Click here for more information.

Give your pets a chance!

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  1. I am a fire and life safety educator (18 years on the job). I thought it prudent to give some insight to the use of “awareness” stickers.

    As logical and well-meaning as this advice may seem, I can say that most fire departments today may not notice, nor react, to the posting of stickers for your pets. This is not to say that some won’t, but in most cases they are going to follow a set procedure that I will describe further.

    Most fire departments today do, in laymen’s terms, two different types of initial search when entering homes and other buildings. The “primary” search involves a rapid and systematic search through a structure. The team responsible for this is moving through each building with the intent of finding ANY persons or animals that can be rapidly removed to safety. The secondary search becomes more thorough and often involves the deep, detailed act of finding persons and property that might not have been discovered during the initial sweep. This is often done after the fire has been “knocked down.”

    The stickers you mention were initially introduced in the 1970s as a method of “helping” firefighters find children that might be in a home. At that time it was thought that children may not know what to do when a fire happens and that they might become trapped or that they might even hide when scared by the events happening in their home. Fire and life safety education was not as commonplace (it should and could be done more readily by fire departments today, but that’s another topic of discussion).

    There are a few problems with the “sticker mentality.” First, children and pets may not be present in the home where the stickers are placed. We have found through they years that people often do not remove these when children grow and move out — or when pets are no longer in the home.

    Second, to focus solely on the stickers in place would distract some firefighters from their systematic training and search procedures. It is obviously more likely a concern for stickers placed on particular bedroom windows (to indicate that the child or pet is in THERE), but also can be a distraction to those that might otherwise follow their training. When they do their search as trained they will actually cover more of the home in a shorter amount of time — and more completely.

    I have some concerns to the validity of your comment “all too often they forget about pets…”. I can sure rationalize with you that they are thinking first of saving people, but I know that most firefighters will react to (and have been trained to consider) the presence of animals, as well.

    I don’t want to discount the efforts and the campaign that the ASPCA is offering, either. There is good reason for the campaign. I am a pet owner, as well, and know that my pets like most family’s pets are “part of the family.” We definitely should be concerned for their safety.

    One thing that every family certainly should do is to take responsibility and control is to have a plan in place for your (and your pets) own escape from fire in the home. Practice an escape drill a few times a year. Thinking you know what you would do — and actually being able to do it — are two different things. The physical act of preparing and practicing for fire will help you get your family and pets out more readily if there is a fire in your home. There are so many variables that take place that you cannot expect the fire department to “save you” from fire. Their job is to respond when called, but should you be waiting for them to arrive without taking action? Fire departments “save” when there is no alternative, but it should be known that you should plan for your own safety. It is disheartening for firefighters to carry dead persons (or even those still living but critically injured) from a home when they know that most of these people could have escaped easily with some practice and planning.

    And, in the case of the pets, when you have escaped properly, gathered at a meeting place with your family, and met the fire department on arrival, you can certainly tell the firefighters that your pets may still be inside. When you are not home and we have to enter, we will do the search as stated above.

    Remember that your animals have an instinct for survival. [Dogs and cats] will likely be in a place in the home that is most safe for them until firefighters can remove them if need be.

    Obviously, any plan of action (including these stickers) is better than no plan at all. I only wish that there was a SET plan of action that would work in all cases. We could all do better (FDs and families in their homes) to prepare and react to fire in the home. I’ve been challenged for almost 20 years to find “the answer.”

    Thanks for your blog post and the effort to stimulate action and thought. That may be the most important part of this social interaction!

  2. i think it is importnat to have a sticker telling the fire fighters about how many cats you have in your house if it is burning down because you see how much people really care about there animals


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