For most of us, our pets are just like family members in our home. And just like the rest of the family, they need a plan for emergencies too – including house fires. That’s why the American Kennel Club has declared July 15th as National Pet Fire Safety Day. By following the tips below and being prepared, you could save Sparky’s life in an unexpected fire.

Home Alone. Unfortunately you can’t always be home with your pets to help protect them from every event. While you’re away, the AKC recommends keeping your furry family members near entrances of your home where they can easily be discovered by fire fighters or emergency personnel who may be entering in a hurry. There’s no time to waste when seconds count!

The Great Escape. Just like children practice fire drills at home and school, planning escape routes with your pets will help you be prepared when you may not be thinking clearly during an emergency. Keep collars and leashes nearby or at an exit door as well, in case you need to leave quickly or a rescue worker may need to lead your pet out to safety.

Get Smart. Unlike their owners, pets don’t know to escape a burning home when a smoke detector alerts them to harm. While battery operate smoke detectors are important, using detectors which are connected to a monitoring center can be life-saving. If you’re not home in an emergency, these monitored detectors allow you to be contacted and the connected center can inform the appropriate emergency personal that there are pets in the home.

Stick It. When every minute matters, you can make it easy to inform a rescue worker exactly who is inside your home. Pet alert window clings allow you to write down how many pets are inside and attach it to an entry door and/or front window. Like with any important records, you do want to make sure this information is updated every few months, or each time you test your smoke detector. You can obtain a free window cling by going here or at AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Days events. Details are available at

According to the AKC, over 500,000 pets are affected by home fires each year. Take time now to set up a plan to ensure that your pet family is safe and secure in an unexpected emergency, especially when you can’t be home.