Posted on May 06 2011
Fire safety awareness is often drummed into school children. Adults are encouraged to develop evacuation plans for their household. However, one quandary receives little attention: what about a family's pets? Animals add unforeseen complications to any emergency situation and require a little more forethought. Pets do not come in one size. Some are big, some are small, some can be carried with little difficulty, some require quite a bit more wrangling to get outside. Knowing your family's specialized circumstances before a dangerous situation occurs can save lives.
Small and/or light animals (reptiles, kittens, rodents, and small dogs) are easy to transport. They can be moved using lightweight cages, carrier bags, or even pillowcases. Weightier animals might require some more thought. If an owner has difficulty lifting their Labrador retriever (a 90 pound dog) and controlling him/her in non-stressful times, then a high-stress situation such as a fire complicates matters. Depending on the living space, the owner might consider looking into a harness with which to lower the animal or a slide to place the animal on. That way they can slide to safety, leaving the owner in a better mind to activate their own fire safety plan.
Run the Numbers
Corralling many loose animals can prove tricky. Are the animals contained in a single room or enclosed cages or are they scattered around the house? Can a pet owner transport all these animals together, or will several escape methods need to be made? Multiple methods will need to be even less time intensive than those developed for one pet.
Know Your Situation
A person living in a third floor apartment will need to make different plans than those in a one-story house. These considerations will direct actual preparations for getting the pets away from fires. Likewise, some thought needs to be given to any special requirements for the animals themselves. Having a spare medication supply, which can be tossed into an Emergency Bag, may prove invaluable. Fire evacuation planning can be equated to preparing for a trip; you can go with only the clothes on your back, but you are likely to be happier with a few necessities.
Practice Promotes Safety
As with children, pet owners can and should have practice runs to ease their pets into the process. Practice does nothing to reduce actual fear. However, practice makes performance easier. When protocols become ingrained, they then become second nature. Uncertainty vanishes, and evacuation becomes a reflex action. All pets can benefit from exposure to these situations.
This article was written by Alana of Fireprotectiononline.co.uk, leader of the popular dorgard system and other quality fire marshall gear.