Every pet owner’s worst nightmare would be to lose their pet in a home fire. So, what are you doing as a home owner to prevent this? “Nobody thinks it could happen to them but the reality it that year-round we attend to house fires many of which threaten the lives of not only the residents but their pets too,” says Charnel Hattingh, National Marketing and Communications Manager, Fidelity ADT.
Along with that she adds that some fires are, in fact, caused by pets, especially when they are left alone in a property.
“Animals are generally curious and will investigate cooking appliances, candles, or even a fire in your fireplace. Ensure your pet is not left unattended around an open flame and make sure to thoroughly extinguish any open flame before leaving your home. Also, be sure to remove stove knobs or protect them with covers before leaving the house,” she says.
Hattingh says it is also useful in the event of a fire to discuss who in a home is responsible for helping a pet escape and carry out some practice escape drills.
“Develop a plan for your pet by determining which family member will be responsible for each pet. Know where your pets hide as this may be the first place they go to if there is a fire. Ask someone in your family or a friend in advance if they would be willing to keep your pets for you in case of an emergency,” she says.
Then practice your escape plan. This will help identify issues that are not clear or have not been well planned yet. “Keep collars on pets and leashes at the ready in case firefighters need to rescue your pet. When leaving pets home alone, keep them in areas or rooms near entrances where firefighters can easily find them.”
“Our pets are part of the family and need to be taken care of. It only takes some simple planning to include your pets into your home evacuation plans and to minimise the fire hazards in your home,” concludes Hattingh.