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Have a Plan for Your Pets in Case of Fire

Family holding each other and watching as their house is burning.

No one wants to think about the potential dangers their pet could face. Just the thought of it makes us sad, so it's understandable that many of us don't want to even think about it. But facing the fear and making a plan will give you and your pet the best chance of survival. Avoiding thinking about it, or hoping it never happens, isn't a plan. At least it's not a good one.

Of all the possible dangers, fire stands out as one of the scariest because it can come on without warning, move so quickly and leave very little room for error. And it could happen to anyone anywhere. Whether you live in an area prone to fire disasters or not, a fire can start in your own home. And that's a disaster just the same.

The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) is one of the largest humane societies in the world and has been fighting for the rights and protection of animals since its founding in 1866. The A, as it's known to many of us in the pet protection world, has compiled an excellent tutorial on pet fire safety that we'd like to share with you. We hope you'll take heed and follow their advice; it could save your pet's life...and yours. / News

Fire Safety and Your Pets: Keeping Them Safe from the Unexpected

Emergencies can happen at any moment and can come in a myriad of ways. While we may never be able to fully prevent such events from happening, we can prepare ourselves and our pets for when they do. In light of National Pet Fire Safety Day coming up on July 15, we put together important tips concerning fire safety in your home. Use this list to ensure that you and your furry friends are prepared should a fire break out.

  • Consider installing monitored smoke detectors. If you live in a fire-prone area or are concerned about a fire potentially starting, monitored smoke detectors are always a smart choice. Should a fire start, firefighters will be notified and can respond, even if you’re not home.

  • Note where your pets like to nap or hide. This is important in the event that you must evacuate your home quickly. Remember that pets can be exponentially more difficult to round up if they sense stress—especially cats! Practice crating your pets in advance to make it a positive experience so they don’t go running when you pull out their crate during any type of emergency.

  • Have an emergency plan, and practice escape routes with your pet. Include all members of the family in this plan, and make sure they know what to do and where to go.

  • Keep the phone number and address of a local animal hospital handy. If your pet is injured, you’ll need to know where to take them for treatment quickly.

  • Pet-proof your home. Ensure there are no areas where pets can start fires accidentally (including stove knobs, loose wires, candles, fireplaces and other potential hazards). Never leave a pet unattended with a lit candle or fireplace.

In case of emergency home window sticker
  • Get a rescue alert sticker. This easy-to-use sticker will let people know that pets are inside your home. Make sure it is visible to rescue workers (we recommend placing it on or near your front door), and that it includes the types and number of pets in your home, as well as the name and number of your veterinarian. If you must evacuate with your pets, and if time allows, write “EVACUATED” across the stickers. To get a free emergency pet alert sticker for your home, you can fill out the ASPCA’s online order form, or visit your local pet supply store.

  • If you evacuate, take your pets with you whenever possible. If you leave them behind, they may become trapped or escape and be exposed to numerous life-threatening hazards. Note that not all shelters accept pets, so it is imperative that you have determined where you will bring your pets ahead of time:

    1. Contact your veterinarian for a list of preferred boarding kennels and facilities.

    2. Ask your local animal shelter if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets.

    3. Identify hotels or motels that accept pets.

    4. Ask friends and relatives in your area if they would be willing to take in your pet.

  • Prepare emergency supplies and traveling kits. If you must evacuate your home in a crisis, plan for the worst-case scenario. Even if you think you may be gone for only a day, assume that you may not be allowed to return for several weeks. To minimize evacuation time, take these simple steps:

    1. Make sure all pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date identification information at all times. Your pet’s ID tag should contain their name, your telephone number and any urgent medical needs. Be sure to also write your pet’s name, your name and contact information on your pet’s carrier.

    2. The ASPCA recommends microchipping your pet as a more permanent form of identification. A microchip is implanted under the skin in the animal’s shoulder area, and can be read by a scanner at most animal shelters.

    3. Store an emergency kit and leashes as close to an exit as possible. Make sure that everyone in the family knows where the kit is, and that it is clearly labeled and easy to carry. You can see a full list of items to include in your evacuation pack, including food, water, medication and a photo of your pet in case you get separated here.

While these tips can’t prevent crises from occurring, they can help you keep your pets safe should tragedy strike. Keep these tips top-of-mind, and remember that being prepared is always the best line of defense when it comes to your pets.


We'd just like to add this to the A's recommendations:

1. Set up a buddy system with your neighbors ahead of time, exchanging keys, emergency information and a detailed game plan for your pet. If you're not home when a fire erupts in your home or nearby, this will give your pet a chance to be safely evacuated if you can't make it home in time or are prevented from entering the fire zone.

2. Always, always, always make sure your pet is wearing their collar and ID at all times, even in the house. The A lists this in their fire safety plan but we think it's a little too far down the list and bears repeating over and over. You NEVER know when your pet may need it, so make sure they have it - ALWAYS.

Person's hand holding the Pet Emergency Tag on a lost dog's collar with inset photo of the toll free number and unique ID number on the back of the tag.

3. A standard ID tag and microchip are a very good start, but "good enough" might not be good or enough when your pet needs it most.

You can do more. The Help4Pets Pet Emergency Tag System (PETS) is a 24/7 lifeline that provides a safety net in case your pet needs immediate help and you can't be reached right away. In the event of a fire, your home phone may not work and even cell reception may be interrupted. The universal emergency symbol on our tag is easily recognizable by firefighters and Good Samaritans alike. Anyone trying to help your pet will immediately understand that this is no ordinary tag; it's for emergency situations such as a fire. Our (800) number on the Pet Emergency Tag is answered 24/7 by our trained staff. There's nothing to scan, nothing to confuse or frustrate the user, nothing to delay your pet getting the help they need. One simple call does it all.

Learn more at

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