firefighter in uniform kneeling with a German Shepherd dog

The best way to protect your pets in the event of a fire is to include them in your fire safety family plan. When it comes to developing a strategy families are quick to put a plan in place to save the two-legged members. Pet parents must remember while making these plans their four-legged members are relying on them as well. Organizing an escape route, being prepared with emergency human and pet kits, and discovering prevention techniques are required steps to practicing fire safety.

The National Fire Protection Association estimates that nearly 1,000 home fires each year are accidentally started by the homeowners’ pet.

Tips to Prevent Your Pet from Starting a Fire

While pets and pet parents must co-exist, there are ways to pet proof the house in attempt to decrease the risk starting a fire. The following recommendations are for consideration:

  • Avoid Using Open Flames- Pets are curious animals and should not be left unattended around an open flame. The best choice is to use candles that are battery powered and flameless.
  • Use Stainless Steel or Ceramic Bowls- Glass pet bowls should be discarded since they can concentrate the sun’s rays enough to start a fire on a wooden deck. Use stainless steel, plastic or ceramic.
  • Remove Knobs from Gas Stovetops- Pets love to counter surf and can accidentally turn on cook tops. Remove or cover knobs to prevent accidental ignition.
  • Be Cognizant of Space Heaters- Space heaters spark house fires all too often. Pets are at risk of losing their life by these dangerous devices. Safe options can be found here.
  • Minimize Electrical Cord Exposure- Pets can suffer electrocution from chewing cords and fires can be started by sparks. CritterCord cord protectors have a citrus scent that can deter pets.
  • Fireplaces and Wooden Stoves- Keep pets and bedding away from fires as sparks can set them on fire or singe your pet’s fur. Even with protective glass doors pets could be burned.
  • Electric Blankets- Exposed cords can pose a safety hazard as pets can view these as toys. Cats who like to knead on cords may tear through the protective lining risking shock or fire.
  • Secure Young Pets- Young puppies are extremely curious and can get into any of the above fire threats. Protect your home by keeping them in a crate or confined to an area in the home.

Fire Safety Tips & Precautions:

  • Make sure your house is fully equipped with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Batteries should be replaced twice a year and each device should be replaced every 10 years to protect sensor effectiveness.
  • Have an emergency plan that involves all members of your family, including pets. The National Fire Prevention Association offers free escape planning tools and an escape grid to draw a floor plan of your own home.
  • Have an up to date emergency pet kit that includes:
      1. A leash or harness
      2. A blanket or bed
      3. A week’s supply of food
      4. Treats or chew toy
      5. Pet medications

Part of emergency pet preparedness includes your pet wearing their Pin Paws tag. In the event you become separated from your pet during your fire escape plan, you can increase the likelihood of becoming reunited. Make sure your pet’s online profile information remains up to date as well with a pet picture and uploaded medical records.

Learn Pet CPR as Part of Fire Safety Training

There are many resources online to learn about pet first aid and how to perform CPR. Here is a summary of how pet CPR is done according to the American Red Cross.

How to Perform Pet CPR:

1. Check for breathing and a heartbeat. If you do not see your pet’s chest rising and falling, and cannot find a heartbeat, move on to chest compressions.

2. Give chest compressions.

Hand Placement

For cats and small dogs: place the heel of your hand directly over the pet’s heart and place your other hand directly over your first hand.

For deep chested dogs: place the heel of one hand over the widest part of the chest and place your other hand directly over the first hand.

For barrel chested dogs: place the dog on its back, place one hand over the widest part of the sternum and place your other hand directly over the first hand. Lock your elbows and make sure your shoulders are directly above your hands.


Push hard and fast at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute, compressing 1/3 to ½ the width of your pet’s chest. Make sure the chest rises completely back to normal position (recoils) before compressing again.

Perform 30 chest compressions.

3. Then give rescue breaths. To give rescue breaths, gently close the pet’s mouth and extend their neck to open the airway. Cover your pet’s nose with your mouth and exhale until you see your pet’s chest rise. Give two rescue breaths.

4. Continue CPR. Continue CPR with a cycle of 30 chest compressions and 2 rescue breaths until your dog or cat begins breathing on their own.

5. Check again for breathing and a heartbeat. Briefly check for breathing and a heartbeat every 2 minutes.

6. Get Help. Continue CPR until you arrive at a veterinarian hospital.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, an estimated 40,000 pets die in residential fires each year, mostly from smoke inhalation, and 500,000 pets are affected overall.

In addition to the above recommendations, Fire Safety alert stickers can be purchased online to inform First Responders of how many pets are inside. Keep leashes and kennels easily accessible in your home so your pet can be assisted with escaping.

A dynamic Pin Paws pet tag helps owners manage their pet’s information with an online profile. In the event a pet becomes lost during a drill or live evacuation, their profile can be access through the information listed on their tag for an expedited reunification with their owner. Click here to learn more and sign up today.

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