More than 500,000 cats, dogs and other pets are affected by fires each year, according to The National Fire Protection Association. Protect your cat by taking these 10 safety steps before disaster strikes.
1. Install Fire Alarms. Put fire alarms throughout your house and check the batteries monthly. Warnings are key to getting out of the house ahead of a full blown fire.
2. Watch Open Flames. The NFPA reports that pets accidentally start 1,000 house fires a year. Cats are curious and will check out stoves, candles and open fires in the fireplace. Stay with your cat around an open flame and put out fires all the way when you’re done.
3. Pet-Proof Thoroughly. Look out for risks like stove knobs, loose wires and other possible hazards and cat-proof them by limiting access or covering them well.
4. Consider Security Services. A high-tech home security system warn of fire when cats can’t. Some systems can send automated alerts to your smartphone if in-home sensors detect danger like smoke, fire and carbon monoxide, and can send help in case of emergency.
5. Keep Cats Accessible. Leave cats in an area near entrances so firefighters can easily find them if needed. Kittens could even be kept in a crate to avoid the potential risks of chewing wires or other potential fire hazards while you are away.
6 Practice Escape Routes. Include your cat in evacuation drills. Practice how you will escape in the case of a fire under different situations. Pick a family member to be in charge of getting your cats out of your home.
7. Inform Emergency Officials. When talking to emergency responders over the phone, tell them if cats are within the home so they can notify the fire crew.
8. Post a Cling. Stick a fire label to a window that faces the front or your home, alerting passers-by that cats live inside. This decal saves rescuers time when locating pets. Some companies, like Kriser’s Pets, offer free clings.
9. Pack Disaster Kits. Gather everything your cat would need to make it through 72 hours without aid. Keep this near an exit so you can grab it and get out quickly. Place a carrier nearby.
10. Know Where to Go. If an emergency does occur and you can’t return home, know the closest family member, friend’s home or shelter where you and your cats will be welcomed.