If you have pets, you have probably worried about leaving them in your house unsupervised. In particular, home fires are likely a big concern. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) indicates that 500,000 pets a year are affected by house fires. Moreover, pets are reported to be responsible for starting 1,000 house fires.
So how can you prevent your pets from starting a fire in your home and also protect them from fire-related injury? The American Kennel Club and ADT Security Services offer the following tips that could save your pet’s life.
- Extinguish open flames — Pets tend to be attracted to stoves and open fires like the fireplace or BBQ. Restrict your pets from the kitchen or the grilling area when cooking with flames is being done, and also use a sturdy screen in front of your fireplace that will keep sparks from flying into the room and one which will not tip over easily. To prevent problems when you are not at home, completely extinguished all sources of fire so they do not pose a threat to pets left at home.
- Remove or protect stove knobs — The NFPA cites pets turning on stove knobs as a leading reason for pet-started house fires. Your curious pet could jump onto the kitchen stove, turning on the stove knobs in the process. Not only could the pet be injured by the stove flame but the flame could spread to involve the entire kitchen and beyond. To prevent such dangers, remove or cover stove knobs so that they cannot be activated while you are away.
- Flameless candles — Pets are also drawn to burning candles and lanterns which they can easily turn over causing a fire to spread quickly to surrounding furniture and walls and then engulf the entire house. The answer: use battery-powered flameless candles which will offer the same visual effect without the flame.
- Water bowls on wooden decks — You might believe that leaving your pet in your back yard while you are not at home would be a safe decision. You might be correct unless you have left your pet’s water in a glass water bowl on your wooden deck. The water in the bowl acts like a magnifying glass to concentrate the sunlight, thus heating the wooden deck enough to ignite the wood. The solution: Use a ceramic or stainless steel water bowl which does not focus light in the same way.
- Inspect and pet proof — Loose electrical cords can cause several different hazards. If the cord is attached to a lamp with the bulb turned on and the pet pulls the lamp over, the lightbulb could ignite a carpet if it lands against it. Pets can also become entangled in loose electrical wires and be strangled or cause an appliance to fall to the floor and hit your pet. Then there is always the chewing pet who can suffer severe burns if they chew through the electrical cord.
Homeowners Insurance Tip
Even when you "pet proof" your home and remain aware to prevent pet-related accidents, sometimes those accidents can still occur. Be sure that you are fully protected. Have a conversation with your insurance agent well in advance of a time when you'll need it to be sure that you have the homeowners insurance coverage you need on your policy. He or she will help you to anticipate any circumstances that might given your lifestyle because it's too late after the accident happens.
Feel free to contact any of our very capable and experienced agents at the William M. Sparks Insurance Agency here in Lutherville/Timonium MD to discuss your home insurance. We can help you review your current insurance policy and explore your options to be sure you have the best coverage and protection according to your circumstances.