(BPT) - Americans are passionate about many things — but would it surprise you to learn that pets rank at the top of the list? A whopping 90.5 million households, or approximately 70% of all American households, own at least one pet, and they play a significant role in our lives. So it’s no surprise that 95% of owners consider their pets to be family members, investing in their care, training, comfort, health and happiness. As the seasons change, this is the perfect time to protect your furry family members from fire and carbon monoxide (CO) risks that come along with this time of year. Follow these tips to keep your pet safer as temperatures start to drop.
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1. Install “pets inside” window clings
Attaching a decal to a window near doors and exits that indicates pets are inside is an easy way to let first responders know about your pets. In an emergency, first responders quickly assess occupants, and this helps to let rescuers know animals are inside. Window clings are available for purchase through online retailers or ask your local fire department (many make these available).
2. Pet-proof your home
Be familiar with common fire risks. Pets are naturally curious, and accidentally start nearly 1,000 home fires each year. Pet-related fires typically involve cooking appliances, wiring, fireplaces, heaters and candles.
Avoid things like:
- leaving leftover food on the stovetop (where pets can jump or turn on burners)
- walking away from hot appliances like clothes irons (that easily tip over)
- leaving lit candles in easy reach of probing paws
Also keep smoke alarms and home fire extinguishers up-to-date and in working order.
3. Familiarize your pet with alarms
Ensure that your home has working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. You can also condition your pet to the sounds and actions associated with alarms. Pets may become unsettled or anxious at the sound of an alarm, hiding under beds rather than exiting the home. Through positive training, it’s possible to teach many pets to stay calm and head for safety outside — this could help save their lives in case of an emergency. To train your pet, check with a trainer for more information or watch a full demonstration online from Kidde featuring celebrity pet trainer Sara Carson from "America’s Got Talent."
4. Replace alarms every 7-10 years
If you didn’t know alarms need replacing, don’t worry, you are not alone. In a recent Harris Poll survey, only 21% of respondents answered this correctly. Every smoke alarm must be replaced every 10 years, and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms every 7-10 years (depending on the model). If you aren’t sure when alarms were installed, use the manufacturing date on the back of the alarm.
5. Include pets in escape plans
Assign one family member for each pet to make sure the entire family gets out. Stay aware of your pets' typical hiding spots or where they nap in case you must evacuate quickly.
Remember the 2’s for fire safety practice:
- Practice 2 times annually
- During 2 times of the day (morning and night)
- Know 2 ways out of each room
When you leave home, keep pets in areas near entrances where firefighters can easily find them.
6. Learn about carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning
Like humans, pets are also susceptible to CO poisoning. According to a recent survey commissioned by Kidde and conducted online by The Harris Poll, 53% of pet owners aren’t confident they could identify the symptoms of CO poisoning in their pets.
Common symptoms for this “silent killer” can include:
- labored breathing
Visit Kidde.com/petsafety for a full list of symptoms. If you suspect your pet has suffered CO poisoning, immediately move your pet and your family outside and dial 911. Also consider contacting your veterinarian immediately and asking for a CO poisoning evaluation.
"Home safety planning is important for every member of the family, including your four-legged family members," said Sharon Cooksey, fire safety educator for Kidde. "With planning and the right home equipment, you can have peace of mind that you're prepared for these emergencies."
Visit Kidde.com/petsafety to learn more.