New York, NY — As the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) gears up for “Fire Safety Week” October 3-9, the American Kennel Club reminds dog owners to consider their canine companions when it comes to fire safety.
“Many animal lovers consider their pets to be members of the family,” said AKC spokesperson Gail Miller. “In the unfortunate circumstance of a fire, the safety of the people living in the household is unquestionably most critical. However, for many families, it would be devastating to have to the tragedy of a house fire compounded by the loss of a beloved pet who could have been saved with some simple planning and forethought.”
• Be sure that your dog and other pets are part of your organized evacuation plan. Rehearse your plan repeatedly with your family, including your dog.
• Assemble a dog disaster kit including: a supply of your dog’s kibble and treats, water, vaccination records and medications, emergency contact information including your veterinarian’s number, a favorite toy and an extra leash and collar with your dog’s identification.
• Listen to your dog! Canines have the ability to smell smoke long before humans. If your dog is acting strangely, look into the situation promptly and be prepared to gather your family and follow your evacuation plan.
• Fire experts say the number-one reason dogs perish in fires is because they are confined to their pens and can not escape. Be sure your fire plan accounts for crated dogs.
• Research canine organizations in your area ahead of time, so you will have a place to board your dog in case of emergency.
• Consider installing a dog door leading outside so that an endangered dog has a chance to escape on its own.
• Increase the chances of your dog’s rescue by putting a sticker on your door reading, “DOG INSIDE. IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, PLEASE RESCUE”
• When not at home, keep your dog on the ground floor so it will be easier to rescue.
• Give a key to a trusted neighbor, and make sure they know where the dog might be located within the house so they can inform firefighters.
• If your dog was in a smoke-filled building, or if you can smell smoke on its fur, take it to your veterinarian for review. Toxic fumes can be deadly.
• Microchip your dog, and enroll in the AKC Companion Animal Recovery (AKC-CAR) database. If your dog gets lost during a fire, a microchip will increase your chances of being reunited. For more information, visit www.akccar.org
• A dog is a member of the family, and its safety depends on your ability to comply with standard fire safety measures. Be sure to have working smoke detectors on every level of the home and near bedrooms, and keep hallways and home exits free of clutter.