National Pet Fire Safety Awareness Day Applies to everyone because no one expects their home to catch fire. It doesn’t really seem like a real danger, not really, not until it happens to them.

At least that was the case for my family in November of 2013 when we found out our house had caught fire we were spread out around the city running various errands in preparation for hosting thanksgiving.

It started with phone calls from neighbors and friends for my mom.

Official people calling to inform my dad. This will be important to Mini’s story later.

My mom called and told my sister, my sister told me.

I asked her “What about Mini?”

Mini was my sweet rescued parson Jack Russel Terrier. She had severe separation anxiety and couldn’t be trusted to have full range of the house and yard. She was closed in the laundry room when we left the house.

My sister didn’t answer, and that was probably because we both knew the odds of Mini being alright were too slim for comfort.

I would never wish the feeling of knowing your dog in in danger, and being completely helpless to change anything on any dog parent.

The fire department were able to locate Mini, and resuscitate her.

She survived, and helped my family through the trying year that follows the aftermath of a house fire.

There are a lot of factors that play in to the happy ending we got with Mini.

  1. The official people calling my dad, lead to him being able to inform dispatch directly that Mini was in the house and where in the house she was. This I don’t think is an option for every one.
  2. Our neighbors also informed the fire department there was a dog in the house.
  3. Phoenix Fire Department responded quickly.
  4. Awesome fire fighter neighbor tried to slow fire down by running the garden hose through a blown out window.
  5. Fire fighters actually check for things that feel like pets or people with their feet when smoke makes visibility impossible, and Mini was on the floor as far from the fire as she could get buried under a blanket, but could still be felt through boots.
  6. Natural survival instincts Mini got as far from the fire as she could and went under a blanket. When possible Dogs are often waiting at the doors during fires and bolt when responders open it.

Ensure the responders are aware how many Dogs are in your House. 

This is crucial. A super easy way to do this is to have a pet fire safety sticker on the front of your house near the doors and visible or a pet safety sign visible in the yard. You can find these at various pet events, but a sure place to get one is on amazon.

Use an alarm company that notifies you in the event of a fire.

This is helpful especially if your dog is in a crate or locked in a specific room. The faster you are notified the faster you can inform responders if your dog is in a specific location.

Don’t crate your dog away from entrances, or in obscure hard to locate places. 

If your dog is in a crate when a house fire begins they are at the mercy of where the crate is located. Natural survival instincts can not help them. Mini burrowed away from smoke in the corner furthest from the fire in he enclosed room this was also near an entrance.

Speed is of the essence in helping a pet survive a house fire. Having crates located places such as under tables or in converted closets, or any place far away from an entrance may give your home a wonderful designer appearance, but will make it take longer to locate a pet.

To be safest keep your pet in a puppy proofed room near an entrance, or in a dog pen, if you must crate them put the crate near an entrance not tucked away.

Always have a collar with dog tags and up to date information on your dog when they are left home unsupervised. 

If they are able many dogs will flee the scene of a house fire given the opportunity. It may be necessary for responder to leash your dog to either guide them out, or keep them from bolting from the scene, especially if a house fire occurs when you are away from home.

Prevent a fire from occurring in the first place. 

Here are a few simple tips to fire prevention.

  • Never leave objects on the stove to tempt pets. They can accidentally turn on the stove top in their effort to get to the treats. 
    • remove stove knobs when you leave if you have any reason to believe your dog could attempt to check out the stove top and counters.
  • Turn off, and unplug any appliances that don’t need to be on. Curling irons, Dishwashers, toasters, lamps, fans ect…
    • Remove all accessible wires if you have even the slightest reason to suspect your dog might chew on them.
  • Always, Always, Always Check all appliances for recalls due to fire.
    • Our house fire was caused by an appliance with a recall on it.
  • Don’t leave a glass bowl out on a wood floor where sunlight can hit it. I just learned that the glass bowl can act like a magnifying glass does with sunlight.
  • Never leave a dog unsupervised around an open flame like a candle or fireplace. 

If you can think of any pet fire safety tips I may have missed, please comment below.