Could Your Pet Start a House Fire?
While you might not think of your pets as being a fire hazard it is possible for you to put yourselves and your pets in danger at home without realising it. Pets can often be left in potentially life-threatening situations when house fires break out, but they are also often responsible for causing fires to start.
Naturally curious and often left alone for hours at a time, there is plenty of scope for pets to cause fires accidentally. From the dog that accidentally turned on the hob trying to get to a pizza in a box on the top of the oven, to cats who knock over lamps.
It is certainly worth giving some thought to minimising the risks. Here are some simple steps you can take to prevent accidental fire:
Never leave pets unattended around an open flame, whether this be a candle, open fire or gas hob. Where possible use flameless candles instead and ensure that open fires are protected with a fire guard at all times.
Dogs, especially puppies, love to chew and whilst they often opt for your favourite slippers, this can include electric cables. Damaged cables can spark and result in fire or electrocution. Hide cables behind furniture or other obstructions or spray them with a bitter tasting deterrent. It is also a good idea to unplug cables that are not in use. Electric blankets should be kept away from pets at all times.
The kitchen can be particularly hazardous and is often the place where fires are started by pets. If your dog is tall enough to reach counter height on its back legs switch off electric hobs at the wall when not in use. If you cook with gas it may be necessary to remove the knobs from your hob when leaving the house.
If you are a cat owner, remember there are very few places that are inaccessible and cats love to climb, so even putting potential hazards up high can be risky.
Finally, as you move around your home try and see potential hazards through the eyes of your pet. Piles of clothing or papers, loose wires and overloaded sockets should all be addressed.
Should the worst happen it is worth agreeing, and practicing, an emergency plan with all members of the family and this should include routes of escape for everyone including pets.
Remember, your smoke alarms are your early warning system, but they won’t be any use if the batteries are flat. Ensure you carry out a weekly check of all smoke alarms, it takes just a minute or two, but it could save your life.