Having your home damaged or destroyed by a fire is a major life trauma. No one ever wants to think a fire will happen to them. And hopefully it won’t. But there are almost 400,000 house fires in the U.S. every year and half a million pets are affected by these fires. So it’s important to be prepared and have a fire evacuation plan that you have practiced with your family and your pets. You can find more information about how to create a house fire evacuation plan on the National Fire Protection Association website.
Keep Your Pet Safe at Home While You are Gone
Let’s start with how to keep your pets safe while you are not home, as many pets are home alone while their owners are at work. If a fire were to happen while you were away and your pets were home, you’d want to be sure they could escape.
Pets can be the cause of a house fire and cause 1,000 house fires each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association. To ensure this does not happen, remove stovetop knobs, never leave candles lit while you are away and make sure electrical cords are secure and out of your pet’s reach.
If a fire does happen while you’re away and your pet is home, one of the best ways to help your pet escape is to have a pet alert window cling in the front window of your home. This will alert firefighters as to the number of pets in the house. Firefighters are trained to look for these alerts and will know what to do to help your pet escape the house fire.
Having a “doggie door” enables your pet to go in and out of your home on a daily basis, but can also help your pet escape on its own in a house fire. If you don’t have a pet door, you may wish to add one.
Escaping a House Fire Safely with Your Pet
The best way to protect your pet if a house fire happens while you are both home is to bring your pet with you. Make sure you have identified exits in your evacuation plan and have a collar and leash at those exits ready to quickly grab and use to secure your pet. Pets often are scared by fire and smoke and may bolt when they get outside, if unleashed.
Finding Housing for Your Pet After a House Fire
If you have family or friends to stay with after a house fire, you may be able to bring your pet with you. If not, a traditional boarding kennel is another option, but can get expensive. Nonetheless, it may help you secure short-term, safe housing for your pet in the immediate days after a fire. If a boarding kennel is not an option for you, some animal shelters will provide temporary housing for pets that have lost their home due to things like a house fire. You may also be able to secure a friend who would be willing to “foster” your pet while you find temporary longer-term housing.
Many times, your insurance company will place you in an extended stay hotel after a fire. This is not often the best option for a family with a pet, as the pet may be prohibited at the hotel. We work with families to help them secure non-hotel housing where their pets are welcomed. If you have just suffered a house fire tragedy, you have experienced a great loss of your home and possessions. We feel you and your family should not also have to be separated from your family pet.
Contact us if you need help securing the right temporary housing after a fire that meets the needs of your family, including your pets, if you have any