In recognition of National Pet Fire Safety Month, which runs through July, Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Causey reminds communities how to protect their homes and furry friends from the dangers of fire.
Commissioner Causey is proud to announce that Kidde Fire Safety is donating 50 pet oxygen face masks (an estimated $5,000 donation) to the North Carolina Department of Insurance and Office of State Fire Marshal to distribute to local fire departments across North Carolina.
“For many of us, pets are an extension of our own family. So, when we talk about pet fire safety, it all comes down to prevention. That’s why I’m excited about this donation from Kidde Fire Safety,” said Commissioner Causey. “Our pets can’t protect themselves so it’s up to us to make sure we recognize the risks and learn safety measures to protect our pets and homes from fire.”
Losing a pet due to a house fire can be a devastating experience. Unlike humans who instinctively run out during fires, pets look for a hiding place to protect them from the fire. As a result, every year, 500,000 pets suffer from smoke inhalation and 40,000 lose their lives in home fires, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
While firefighters attempt to rescue pets from a burning home, they are not always able to revive them unless they have the proper equipment -- pet oxygen masks. These specially-designed animal masks donated by Kidde Fire Safety can be used both on conscious pets that have suffered from smoke inhalation and pets that need to be resuscitated after losing consciousness from exposure to the dangerous toxic fumes.
“Pets are part of our families, so it’s important to recognize they’re vulnerable to the same fire risks as people,” said Sharon Cooksey, Kidde’s communications manager. “Every year an estimated 500,000 pets are injured by home fires, mostly through smoke inhalation. Kidde is so pleased to donate pet oxygen masks to our home state and the North Carolina Office of the State Fire Marshal to help keep every North Carolinian safe and healthy, two- and four-legged alike.”
According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly 1,000 home fires each year are started by family pets. Practicing simple safety tips can make a big impact in protecting your family and your pet.
- Keep alarms current: Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms must be replaced after 10 years. In addition to testing alarms once each week, check the manufactured date on your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to make sure they're current. If they're older than 10 years of age, it's time to replace them.
- Minimize smoke alarm reactions: Dogs may become unsettled or anxious when a smoke alarm sounds, running and hiding rather than heading toward the door. Kidde recommends families work with skilled, professional trainers to help their canine friends learn how to properly respond to alarms.
- Pet quantity window cling: In an emergency, first responders need to be able to quickly assess the number of pets in a home. Consider attaching a non-adhesive decal to a window near your front door to let rescuers know how many animals are inside.
- Evacuation plans: Pets should always be included in a family's evacuation plan. Stay aware of their typical hiding spots and where they often nap in case you must evacuate quickly, and assign a family member to account for each pet. Keep an emergency kit with food, medication, and a leash near the exit. When you're not home, keep pets in areas near entrances where emergency responders can easily find them.
- Plan ahead: Save contact information for your veterinarian in a place where you and other family members can easily access it, such as your phone contacts or a cloud-based shared file. Research local boarding options, hotels that allow pets, and friends or family members who might take in your pet temporarily. Also, be sure your pet's microchip information is current in case you become separated in an emergency.
For more information, contact OSFM Director of Injury Prevention Shannon Bullock at Shannon.Bullock@ncdoi.gov or call 919.647.0081.