Being prepared is the best defense in a fire emergency. From making sure your precious pet is properly tagged to having a pet emergency kit at the ready, here are some simple steps you can follow now to make sure you stay cool when disaster is heating up.
Make sure your pet is easily identifiable.
Make sure all pets wear properly fitted collars and tags with up-to-date identification information. Your pet’s I.D. tag should have its name, your name, and your address and telephone number making it much easier to locate you in the aftermath of an emergency. Consider microchipping your pet for a more permanent form of identification. A simple microchip implanted under the pet’s skin can be read by a scanner at most animal shelters.
Know the favorite hideaways.
A moment’s notice may be all you have in an emergency, so make sure you know all the usual places your four-legged friend considers a safe place to hide when they’re feeling uneasy. Timing is critical in locating your pet for evacuation and knowing where they are is key.
Have an escape plan.
Just as you would for your family, make sure you have an escape plan for your pets and include them in the family fire drills. Identify points of quick exit in your home and do a dry run with you pets. Consider practicing the open access technique where if you have to exit and are unable to find your pet, you can leave a familiar door open. When you call for them, they’ll be more likely to come to you in the event of a fire. The open access door should be one they’re accustomed to such as the one they use regularly.
Keep leashes, carriers, and an emergency kit near an exit.
A leash and carrier are critically important when dealing with the panic and noise of escaping a fire. Make sure these are located along the planned fire escape route so you can quickly and easily grab them in an emergency. Store an emergency kit next to the leashes and carriers and make sure everyone in the family knows where these important items are. Items to consider keeping in the emergency kit are seven days’ worth dry or canned (easy open pop-top) food and water, food and water dishes, litter or paper towel, and trash bags. Include a picture of the pet with your contact information should you get separated, and toys and a blanket. If your pet is on medication, know where it is stored so you can grab it at a moments’ notice.
Have a plan for when you’re not at home but your pet is.
Having a visible pet rescue alert sticker is an invaluable tool in case you’re away from your home. This alerts rescue personnel that you have pets living inside the house. Make the decal visible by placing it near or on your front door and include the types of animals inside, your name and telephone number, and the name and number of your vet, too. Be sure to write down how many pets you have in total. Additionally, having a monitored smoke detector alarm can be invaluable. The minute the smoke alarm goes off, someone is alerted and dispatched immediately to rescue your furry friends.
Plan where you will take your pets in an evacuation.
First responders and emergency services can only do so much in an evacuation. Ultimately, your animals are your responsibility so it’s necessary to have a plan in place for where you’ll take your pets and how you’ll get them there. Not all evacuation centers will accept animals. Having an alternate prearranged location to take your pets affords you peace of mind in an emergency.
Practice your plan.
For optimal emergency preparedness, you must practice your plan. It’s better to find out before disaster strikes what works and doesn’t work with your plan. Formulating a Plan B will be far easier without the threat of imminent danger. Your pets depend on you. Be prepared and stay safe.