An estimated 500,000 pets are affected annually by home fires, and almost 1,000 house fires each year are accidentally started by the homeowners' pets, according to a new data analysis by the National Fire Protection Association. To educate pet owners on how to prevent their pets from starting fires, as well as keep them safe, the American Kennel Club and ADT Security Services have joined forces to provide the following tips. Times staff and wires
Prevent your pet from starting fires
Extinguish open flames. Pets are generally curious and will investigate cooking appliances, candles or even a fire in your fireplace. Ensure your pet is not left unattended around an open flame and make sure to thoroughly extinguish any open flame before leaving your home.
Remove stove knobs. Be sure to remove stove knobs or protect them with covers before leaving the house — a stove or cooktop is the number one piece of equipment involved in your pet starting a fire.
Invest in flameless candles. These candles contain a lightbulb rather than an open flame, and take the danger out of your pet knocking over a candle. Cats are notorious for starting fires when their tails turn over lit candles.
Keep your pets safe
Keep pets near entrances when away from home. Keep collars on pets and leashes at the ready in case firefighters need to rescue your pet. When leaving pets home alone, keep them in areas or rooms near entrances where firefighters can easily find them.
Secure young pets. Especially with puppies, keep them confined away from potential fire-starting hazards when you are away from home such as in crates or behind baby gates in secure areas.
Affix a pet alert window cling. Write the number of pets inside your house and attach static cling to a front window. This information saves rescuers time when locating your pets. A free decal is available from the ASPCA by filling out a form at aspca.org. Go to the "About us" tab and click on "Free SPCA stuff."
More tips can be found on American Kennel Club Web site: www.akc.org.