With the Northern and Southern California wildfires still ablaze we wanted to make sure everyone knows how important it is to be prepared if such an event happened at your home or near you. With many people being evacuated from their homes it is always good to have a plan for your pets. Here is a great check list to make sure you prepared:
- Escape Plan. Every house is different, so plan your escape based on a few likely fire scenarios. What is the best door? What do you do if the fire is outside your door? If you get out through a window and the dog isn’t in the room, what’s the plan to follow up and get to your dog? The National Fire Prevention Agency provides great information on planning.
- Know Your Role. Maybe it’s just you and the dog, but if you’ve got roommates or siblings, spouses or extended family, not everyone should be scrambling for the dog. Assign roles: one of you is on dog duty, while the other grabs important additions like carriers and kits.
- Leash and Carrier. Getting everyone outside will be important, but with the likely panic and noise, you’ll need these. Make sure they’re located along the planned fire escape route and easy to extricate in an emergency.
- Know the Hideaways.When your four-legged friend panics, where do they hide? It’s critical that you know the usual places they consider “safe” when there’s noise, or they hurt a paw, etc. You might not be worried about it now if they have a “cute habit” of disappearing and reemerging later, but in a crisis that’s not a good secret to let stand.
- Open Access. You might face a scenario where you have to exit and are unable to find your dog. In that case, you’ll leave a door open and call for them (the NFPA advises that a fire escapee never go back into the house). Ideally the open door should be one they’re accustomed to, i.e. the one they use regularly.
- Fire Drills. Considering the above scenario, it’s important that the dog be included in your family fire drills. Run a scenario where you find them and get them out of the house, and also practice the open access possibility above: Exit the house with the door open and then call for them so they get used to the idea. They’ll be more likely to do so in the event of a fire.
- Secure During Danger.In a real fire, there will be firefighters, noisy trucks, and lots of people. Make sure your fire drills include getting their leash or carrier outside and ready for them, and that you secure them safely away from the home and likely high-trafficked areas in the event of such an emergency.
- Canine Emergency Kit. An emergency scenario might also mean mild injuries for your dog, or at the very least some time away from comforts, not to mention food. Have a kit ready that serves as a go bag as well as a first-aid kit for your pet.
- A Place to Stay. Have some strategic conversations, because depending on the situation you might have to make a number of choices on where your dog stays as the imminent crisis is dealt with and the days to come resolving where you reside. Ideally, have a conversation with a neighbor who would help watch and care short term, as well as a family member or close friend who could help accommodate longer term needs.
For more on this list click here: https://www.rover.com/blog/pet-fire-safety/