One of the most common types of disasters that emergency response workers respond to are house fires. This is unfortunate, because most of these fires can be easily prevented. Nevertheless, this continues to be one of the most foremost types of disasters to strike the average person. In many of these cases, the casualties include pets, which only adds to the devastation of an already upsetting ordeal. In order to prevent that type of loss, you should take measures to consider your pets when you are putting together your family's fire plan. For one, be sure to discuss insurance coverage with your agent specific to your pet so that if they sustain injuries or illness as a result of a fire, you have the means to see to it that they are treated quickly and effectively. Hopefully though, you can form and adhere to a prevention plan that will protect your pets from such calamity to begin with. Here are the measures that you can take.
Put together a first aid kit. As living, breathing beings, pets are subject to physical trauma just as we are. If you would have a first aid for the people in your house, then it follows that you should do the same for your pet. The humane society suggests having the following items (at the very least) in your pet's first aid kit:
- Absorbent gauze pads
- Adhesive tape
- Antiseptic wipes, lotion, powder or spray
- Blanket (foil emergency blanket)
- Cotton balls or swabs
- Gauze rolls
- Hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting when directed by a veterinarian or poison control)
- Ice pack
- Non-latex disposable gloves
- Petroleum jelly (to lubricate thermometer)
- Rectal thermometer (your pet's temperature should not rise above 103°F or fall below 100°F)
- Scissors (with blunt ends)
- Sterile non-stick gauze pads for bandages
- Sterile saline solution (sold at pharmacies)
- A pillowcase to confine your cat for treatment
- A pet carrier
Make sure your home is pet safe. Check your home, room by room, for hazards that may make it easy for a pet to inadvertently start a fire. Loose wires are an especially prevalent offender in this case. In terms of rooms where this is most likely to happen, the kitchen usually holds more fire hazards than any other room in the house. Be sure to remove knobs, or to lock your stove and oven so that curious critters cannot accidentally turn them on.
Contain your pets wisely. Pets, especially smaller animals, can become easily trapped in smoke-filled spaces when disaster strikes, leaving them with no way to escape. To minimize the chances of this happening, keep them secured in an area of your house where the fire risks are at a minimum (for example, a room without hot lamps, or flammable materials). Include your pets in your evacuation plan. Know exactly where you would locate your pet in the event of a fire, and be sure to have collars and leashes handy at the exit you plan to use.
Communicate with your community. When people know that you have pets, they know to look out for and rescue them in the event of an emergency. Stickers on the window are one very effective way to do this, since emergency response crews will see them as they enter your home.