Dog and cat snuggling in the grassToday is National Pet Fire Safety Day!

This annual awareness day is a great time to practice your home evacuation plan with your pet and to make sure your pet's emergency 'Go Kit' is stocked and ready.

What should go in my pet's 'Go Kit'?

      ✓  Water and food bowls
      ✓  A small bag of food
      ✓  A bottle of water
      ✓  Poop bags
      ✓  Medications
      ✓  Treats and toys, if space allows

Keep your carrier crate ('Go Kit') near the front door with a leash.

What do I do if there's a fire?

If you can quickly and safely get your pet(s) inside the carrier(s), gather them and evacuate to your outdoor meeting place. Then call 911. Report to 911 and/or on-scene firefighters how many pets are still inside and where they are located, if you know.

Most dogs will follow you outside. Cats may run and hide under the bed or other furniture when they hear the smoke alarm. In many cases, it is best to let them hide in a closed room. The closed door protects them from smoke and fire. 

Do not attempt to find your pet when there is a fire in your house, and do not go back inside if there is a fire in your house. This poses great risk of injury or death. Let firefighters safely rescue your pet. They are equipped with the right gear to go inside to fight the fire and to perform search and rescue.

Practice your evacuation plan!

Help your pet get used to the pet carrier. Give them treats and leave the carrier door open so they know this is their safe place. Work on eventually closing the door. When you practice your escape plan, be sure to practice with your pet!

If you haven't already chosen an outdoor meeting place for your household, choose one now and make sure everyone knows where it is. Your meeting place should be an easy-to-find spot that is a safe distance away from your home, such as a tree or mailbox across the street.

Does MFD recommend having window clings that report how many pets are inside?

Although many households have these window clings, the reality is firefighters do not have time to read them. Instead, we rely on homeowners, neighbors, and anyone with knowledge of the household to report to us how many animals are inside. Please share this information when you call 911. Dispatchers will pass this information to us so we know what to look for when we perform search and rescue.

Is there anything else I can do to protect my pet?

Remember to keep candles, incense, and other flame-dependent items away from your pet. Only use them in places where your pet cannot knock them over or drape their tail over the flame. Consider protecting the knobs on your stove if your pet has a tendency to get on countertops or stand up and lean on the knobs. Never leave candles, incense, or your stovetop unattended.

Finally, consider microchipping your pet. Sometimes pets elude firefighters and find a way to escape the home. Microchipping your pet helps ensure your pet can be identified and returned to you.

Community Education Officer Bernadette Galvez contributed to this blog.

This content is free for use with credit to the City of Madison - Fire and a link back to the original post.