Do you know that each year, more than 1.7 million uncontrolled fires happen in the US resulting in more than 500,000 pet deaths. Smoke alarms have saved many countless human lives, but our pets are not so fortunate. First, the high-pitched shriek can scare pets into hiding, making rescue difficult and dangerous. Next, even smoke alarms in good working order won’t save pets whose owners are not home to let them out. Sadly, many pets die simply because they were trapped inside your home. The first steps start with you, the pet owner. Prevent potential problems by “pet-proofing” your home and looking for fire hazards. Consider confining younger puppies and kittens when you aren’t home as a means of preventing them from accidentally starting a fire. Always extinguish open flames before leaving home or leaving a pet unattended. Experts recommend that pets left at home should be kept in rooms on the lower level, near entrances, so that fire fighters can find them more quickly and easily. Window clings that alert fire fighters to the presence of pets are also a good idea. Newer clings can be taken down and edited as your pet family grows! Practice “fire drills” with your family and include the pets. Keep collars and leashes handy and know your escape routes. Pets left home alone can’t escape by themselves. The use of smoke detectors connected to monitoring centers can greatly increase their chances of survival in the event of a fire. Monitored smoke detectors can also protect cherished possessions in addition to saving your four legged friends. Responsible pet ownership includes planning for unexpected emergencies. A house fire is a prime example of how devastating and deadly these emergencies can be. Be aware and lessen your chances of something drastic happening to your pets at a most difficult time, a home fire.