Sacramento, CA – Home fires are the single most common disaster across the nation. According to the Red Cross, an estimated 500,000 pets are affected by fires annually, and 1,000 fires are started each year by pets.
“For both human and animal safety, people should never leave their pets behind when disaster strikes,” says RedRover president and CEO Nicole Forsyth. “Animals left to fend for themselves during fires or other catastrophes suffer terribly, and evacuees can compound their own stress by worrying about the pets they left at home.”
The effects of a fire – whether caused by natural or human factors – can be devastating, and animals are especially vulnerable. While we can’t always prevent the unexpected, we can take steps to create a disaster plan that includes pets.
• Have a Safety Plan. Include your animals in your family’s disaster plan. If you have multiple pets, assign each family member the responsibility of an individual animal.
• Display a Pet Rescue Decal. The first thing that firefighters will see is your front or back door, and depending on whether you’re home when a fire happens, the firefighters may not have any way of knowing that there are pets inside. An easy and cheap preventative measure is to use pet rescue stickers that alert rescue personnel that there are animals in the home. You can attach these stickers to a visible window or the front door.
• Keep Your Pet Carrier Handy. If you are home when an emergency occurs, make sure you know where your pet carrier is located so that you can evacuate quickly. This will be crucial to transport your pet safely, especially when fire trucks or ambulances arrive and pets may become alarmed by the noise and volume of activity that will likely surround them.
• Have a Pet Bag. The bag should include items such as medications, leashes, food, water and bowls. Add items as you see fit, such as a can opener for canned food, a current picture of your pet in case they get lost, toys and a bed, plastic bags for pet waste.
• Proper Identification. Always make sure that your pet is wearing the proper identification. Emergencies are scary for humans – imagine how overwhelming they are for pets! In the event that your pet does run away out of fear, making sure their collar has a current address and phone number is the best first step in finding them and bringing them back to you.
Preventative care is the best care
• Make sure candles are blown out when you leave a room
• Check stove knobs to ensure they are turned off, to avoid any chance of pets brushing up against knobs and turning on the stove
• Have a fire extinguisher on hand and check gauge periodically (their shelf life is typically 5-15 years)
There are many precautions and steps that you can take to keep your family and pets safe. Find more disaster planning tips at RedRover.org/disastertips.
Now in their 30th year, RedRover focuses on bringing animals out of crisis and strengthening the bond between people and animals through emergency sheltering, disaster relief services, financial assistance and education. Through their RedRover Responders program, they have been deployed to more than 180 disasters across the United States and Canada. For the third consecutive year, RedRover has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator. To learn more, please visit RedRover.org. You can view our media kit at RedRover.org/media-kit.
Contact: Sheri Madsen
916.429.2457 ext. 310, 916.600.8157 cell