Planning for a Fire with Pets in the HousePublished March 10, 2011
After a fire in my old apartment in which I lost most of my possessions and none of my pets were harmed, I devised an emergency evacuation plan with my pets in mind. Last Thursday, a fire at 202 Mott Street forced its residents onto the street in a hurry, without warm clothes or supplies.
After I saw a Toy Poodle puppy shivering in the arms of her owner and a large Chihuahua being held uncomfortably by another gal, I ran home to get these girls some canine apparel to keep the dogs warm and carrier bags to keep the dogs safe.
Luckily, due to the nature of my career, I am always receiving pet and pet-related products.
Over the years, I have donated my overflow of items to Bideawee, a local animal shelter, or even struck up conversations with dog-owning strangers on the street, only to lure them to my home with a reward of FREE canine booty.
Mind you, I'm not crazy. I don't invite them into my apartment. I make them wait on the street while I bring the pet stuff down.
Most recently, I began to gift my dog-owning neighbors by leaving presents hanging on the door knobs of their apartments.
The barking Yorkies next door get training products and plenty of Comfort Zone so that they can keep quiet while I am writing during the day.
The cute Maltese on the first floor gets clothing because she spends her day lounging in the front window. And, the Puggle and his wine-dealer mother get the stuff that is too...too big, too bizarre and too much for the décor in my home.
So in this situation I was more than happy to gift Milo, the large Chihuahua, with a Toru Dog hoodie and pink corduroy sling carrier. Daisy, the Poodle puppy, got a Miss Fido Manners t-shirt and a knock-off Burberry plaid dog bag.
Both girls were relieved to have something to make holding their pets much easier. After speaking to them awhile, I realized that neither gal was prepared for any type of home emergency or any emergency that involved their pets.
After a fire in my old apartment in which I lost most of my possessions and none of my pets were harmed, I devised an emergency evacuation plan with my pets in mind.
When I got married, my plan was revised again to include my husband's participation. Our plan includes which of us grabs which pets to leave the building. While I look for our cats (probably hiding under the bed), my husband will leash our dogs and handle his bird. We keep our brightly-colored leashes next to the front door at all times and a carrier big enough for two cats folded-up and stored under a table in the entry hall. In its large pocket is a first aid kit and four kennel leads. Moreover, the bird cage is next to a closet which contains an avian backpack with bottled water and food pellets.
Additionally, other than having stickers taped to our front door and on our windows which reveal the number and types of pets in our home, we have fire extinguishers and flashlights throughout the apartment.
We have even taken into consideration how to exit our loft-style apartment from either the front door or down the fire escape. For example, our Rhone does like to walk in the hallway. Prior to leaving the apartment, I would pick her up and carry her out with the bag full of cats.
We have even had to make precautions for exiting by fire escape. They involve a long, industrial strength rope and an additional carrier bag that is stored next the window. This precaution was especially important as we did not want to have to compete with other residents exiting our building by fire escape. Luckily, we live across the street from a firehouse, and they know the number of pets we have. And, our car contains additional pet supplies including clothing, food and bottled water.
Do you have a fire safety evacuation plan for you and your pets? If you need assistance in creating one, consider these website where you can learn about fire prevention tips, appropriate safety equipment and other live saving measures: AKC, US Fire Prevention, and Home Safety Council.
Charlotte Reed, a pet trend and lifestyle expert, is the author of "The Miss Fido Manners Complete Book of Dog Etiquette (Adams Media)."
Image Source: Flickr User pinomoscato