Safety fur-st: Pet safety and fire prevention tips

Pets nationwide are considered beloved members of the family. In fact, pet ownership throughout the U.S. has skyrocketed, with approximately 12.6 million Americans opening their home to a new pet since March 2020, according to a study by the American Pet Products Association.

Whether you’re a first-time pet owner or a pet pro, be sure to consider your furry family members when preparing for the unexpected. First Alert, the most trusted brand in fire safety, offers the following tips to help families be prepared in case of a fire or carbon monoxide (CO) incident.

Prevent a fire. While candles add ambiance, it’s important to never burn them unattended. Wagging tails and pawing kitties can haphazardly knock over candles, which can potentially cause a fire. Additionally, avoid electrical fires by securing loose wires and running long cords behind couches or other out-of-reach locations to prevent them from being chewed.

Protect against the silent killer. Due to their smaller size, your pet may be affected by CO poisoning before you. Signs of CO poisoning can include weakness, sudden vomiting, difficulty breathing, seizures and even loss of consciousness. The only way to detect CO poisoning is by equipping your home with working CO alarms. For premium protection against both fire and CO, install combination alarms with 2-in-1 protection, such as the First Alert 10-Year Battery Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm, which eliminates battery replacements for a decade. Once installed, maintenance is key. Remember to test your alarms regularly and replace smoke alarms every 10 years and CO alarms every five to 10 years, depending on the model.

Improve their safety when home alone. To help ensure your pet is safe even while you’re not home, use a pet gate to keep your animals in the main living area for easy rescue in the case of an emergency. Place pet alert stickers on windows near each entrance to inform firefighters of the presence of pets in your house.

Have an emergency escape plan. When planning your emergency escape route, don’t forget to include your pets. Know which family members will be responsible for each pet and note their hiding spots for a faster evacuation. Have leashes and collars stored near the main entrance of your home and, if possible, near other potential exits during an emergency, so you can grab them on your way out the door. Practice your escape plan at least twice a year, including crating your pets, to help make it an easier experience. And, remind your family to never delay escape or go back inside to rescue your pet. If a pet is missing, inform the fire department dispatcher when you call and the responders when they arrive.

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