Many of our homes are not complete without a pet. Having a pet is the norm for many Americans. There are reports that say that up to 70% of American households have a pet as part of the family. That’s a lot of furry friends. And as adorable and cuddly as our furry babies are, they can sometimes be the source of tragedy. This is currently the case in South Korea, where authorities are warning cat owners that the animals could potentially burn their owner’s house. But how?
In South Korea, it has been reported that more than 100 house fires were started between January 2019 and November 2021. These often occur when pets inadvertently turn on electrical devices with their paws when their owner is n is not at home.
This is not a problem exclusive to our South Korean friends; There are also a lot of house fires caused by pets in the United States. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, “Pets or wildlife have a role to play in starting about 750 house fires per year. These are kitchen equipment, fireplaces and fireplaces, radiators, lamps, light bulbs, cables and candles.
I contacted the Humane Society Of The United States and asked for advice on protecting our pets and homes from accidental fires. Maxine Young, a companion animal program assistant at the Humane Society of the United States, said knowing what can potentially attract our pets could help us keep them safe. She said the most obvious fire hazards in our homes are open flames. It can be a candle, a gas stove, an open fireplace or a hearth.
“Many pets are naturally curious and may gravitate towards the light of a candle or the warmth of a fireplace. If you are cooking with open flames, watch your pet’s whereabouts and make sure they don’t get too close. If you are going out of the house, consider removing or covering the knobs on your stove, as they can be accidentally turned on by a jumping pet. Also consider covering the burners on your stove, ”Young suggested.
She also offered some tips like changing your lighted candles for the flameless variety and securing the door to an open fireplace. It is always important to ensure that all flames are extinguished before leaving an animal unattended in the home. Another danger that you may not always think of is that of bare wires; animals like to chew them and could start a fire.
It’s also a great idea to use a baby gate or pet crate to keep your pets away from potentially dangerous situations whether you’re at home or not. Accidents with things like a candle can happen in a second if you’re not looking. The best way to avoid a tragedy is to take the proper precautions beforehand.
What if you had to leave your pet at home? We all do this from time to time, and God forbid there is a fire, there are a few things you can do to help rescue workers save your beloved furry babies. The American Red Cross offers these tips:
- Keep your pets near the door when you are away from home or in open areas where a first responder can easily find them
- Make sure your pet is wearing his collar so that he can be easily identified and quickly kept on a leash if needed
- Place an adhesive on your window that gives information about the pets for those in your home, including the number of animals, their type and names to help them be rescued
We all want to keep our families safe in our homes. We also extend this protection to animals that live in our homes. But we cannot forget to educate our children too. Young said our children need to understand that pets can easily cause an accidental fire. There must be a family plan in place in the event of a fire. The goal is not to scare children, but to help them understand the risk and the real tragedy that can result from an accidental house fire.
“The best way to help pets in this situation is to prevent fires from happening in the first place. Practicing the previously mentioned precautions, like putting out open flames and covering stove knobs, can be small actions that make a huge difference to pet safety. Always have an emergency plan and train with your family so everyone knows how to protect pets. We hope you don’t find yourself in these situations, but it never hurts to be prepared, ”Young concluded.
When it comes to our animals, it is essential to take the proper precautions to avoid an unwanted and potentially devastating fire.