It’s been instilled into our minds ever since a very young age that a fire safety strategy is an essential part of your emergency planning, but are your fur babies a part of that plan? The Pembroke Animal Hospital (PAH) teamed up with Ottawa Fire to give pet owners a few tips and ideas to help develop a fire safety plan that incorporates everyone in your home- those with fur and those without!
Let’s start off with the basics; one pet per person. It’s a good idea to have each family member assigned and responsible for a specific pet during an emergency. Keep in mind that you too need to be safe in order to help others, so keeping yourself safe is of the upmost importance. We recommend that you become familiar with your pets’ hiding spots or places where they like to spend time. Knowing these frequent go-to spots can help you track them down during an emergency. Pets will often hide when they are stressed out, and a fire will be a very stressful moment for your fur family.
With each pet in the household being cared for, it’s a good idea to regularly check and make sure that their identification tags are up to date and legible (ie: rabies vaccination with clinic name, name tag with correct phone number) in case they run away and are separated from you. Having your pet microchipped will also help sort out confusion if they were to run away due to the fire or the sounds of sirens. Have leashes and carriers readily available by entrances, along with an emergency bag filled with any food, supplies, or medication they may need.
Whether you have one pet at home or multiple pets, it’s never a bad idea to have a place to stay planned ahead in advance, in case of an emergency. Find out which hotels in your area are pet friendly, contact boarding facilities, or arrange with friends and family members who would be willing to care for your pets during the aftermath of a fire.
Now that a fire escape route and plan has been set, there is one final step that can help you ensure your pets’ safety during the chaotic moments that are sure to take place during a house fire. It’s hard to determine exactly how an emergency situation will unfold. You can try your best to plan, but when an emergency happens you may not have time to think before you act. If family members are separated and do not have time to speak to first responders about your furry friends, you can have a sticker do the talking for you. Place a sticker on your door that shows how many pets reside in your home. You can pick up stickers at places like the Ottawa Humane Society or purchase them online. A little folder by the front door of ID photos, behaviours, feeding schedules, medical conditions and veterinarian contact information, along with post emergency housing plans, can be a helpful tool for first responders if they find your pets after you have already left the property.
Do you want more insight into what to do for your pet in an emergency? On Monday, July 22, 2019 Pembroke Animal Hospital is hosting a free Pet First Aid community event! The event starts at 6:30 PM and will feature some of our health care professionals. They will teach you what you need to know about pet first aid. We will even have stickers to give out to mark how many pets are in your home in case of an emergency! RSVP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org by July 19, 2019.
It’s never fun to think about or plan for an emergency situation, but these few simple steps can help ease the stress if one arises. After all, it’s best to be safe than sorry!
By Amy Bromley, RVT
Amy is a Registered Veterinary Technician at Pembroke Animal Hospital. She has been working at PAH for over 6 years. She enjoys gardening, crafting and hanging out with her cat Fro.