House Fires

I remember it well. It was a couple of weeks before Christmas and my brother and I were watching Beauty and the Beast. It was the scene where Bell and the Beast are standing by a grand fireplace. I looked up from our boxy TV with the curved screen and wooden surround, to our own fireplace. Instead of seeing a gentle flame dancing along the logs in the fire, my eyes were instantly drawn to the flames licking the edges of where the mantel met the wall! Mum called 911 and, after she overcame momentarily forgetting our address in a panic, our cul-de-sac was swarming with 3 firetrucks and an ambulance. Despite it being rather traumatic, I was only a kid so one of the highlights for me was sitting in my neighbor's front window, eating M&M's while watching the fire crews spray our house down with vast quantities of water. I very rarely got candy of any kind, so getting M&M's was a pretty big treat! By the time they put the fire out you could stand in what was left of our living room and look out into the backyard. A good portion of that side of the house was gone! We spent the subsequent weeks living in a hotel while our house was repaired. It was an adventure, but it was also stressful.

Fast forward 25 years and one of my biggest concerns when I leave the house is fire prevention! I am slightly obsessive about it. I check all elements are off (at least once), I make sure everything within my control is fire safe. If I use the iron that morning and I don't check again that it is off before I leave, I fret about it all the way to my destination. I'll fully admit this is all probably over the top, but we all have our foibles...right?! 

According to the U.S. Fire Administration there were a reported 494,000 structure fires in 2014 and 2,860 civilian deaths as a result. They don't have statistics about pets, but it is fair to assume that a good deal of those homes contained pets too.

When we adopted the poodles I heard about the SPCA's Pet Safety Pack, whereby they send you a free sticker to put in your window that reads "Animals Inside". That way, if the emergency crews have to come to the house they hopefully see this sticker and rescue the pets. However, when I received the sticker it was woefully small (in my opinion) and could easily be missed by anyone entering the home in a rush. So I made my own.

This full-sheet of paper sits in my front window, right beside the door. I'm hoping it is never called for, but for very little effort it gives me that extra peace of mind and believe you me, I can use all the peace of mind I can get when it comes to this!

How do you make sure your home is safe for your pets while you're away?


  1. Like you I too endured a fire (though not a home fire-our store building, but still the loss was very devastating with many stored personal possessions gone in a flash) so completely empathize with you. Checking and re-checking seem totally normal. Living in the city in a 60+ year old house, I'm especially aware of all that can go wrong, and although my home has been completely updated, I can't say that about my next door neighbor whose home is very close. And then there's always the possibility of a lightening strike to consider in Colorado. Love your sign, I think I'll make one for both our entrances just to be on the safe side. 😎

  2. Wonderful idea. Our home burned when I was 5 years old but I suppose I was too young to be left with the concerns you experience. Yesterday I was told by our doctor to have the bright pink DNR (POLST) form attached to our refrigerator because emergency medical personnel are trained to look there for any medical emergency directives if they're called for a 911 visit. It's good to be on alert for pets and people.

  3. Now that's a very good idea
    Loves and licky kisses
    Princess Leah xxx

  4. Thank GOD you were all ok!!! That had to be horrifying, and part of your house gone? OMG. Just awful. Ironically, I blogged today about fire safety....we had a scare in our building last week but thankfully it was NOWHERE near as dreadful as what happened to you. Thank you for this important post! DakotasDen

  5. Off topic after reading the prior post about Luna... what do you use to clean their ears? cole is having a bad ear week, nothing seems to help. Usually it's food but we removed all but allergy kibble and it's still bad. I plucked today, and hope it gets better with constant benedryl. He's allergic to ear meds and many cleaners. I tried cider but it stings too much. OY! I don't want to take him back to the vet for ears at this hospice stage... LeeAnna
    ps Luna is lovely...

  6. I do the same....obsessively check everything before I leave. I never leave my toaster plugged in and pretty much unplug anything that I easily can that could potentially catch fire! We also had a fire in our home when I was a child, though it wasn't bad...mostly just smoke damage. I have one of the SPCA stickers in our window, but now you have me thinking I might have to make a bigger sign like you did.

  7. I've also suffered from my home catching fire when I was a child. I was a bit older than you seemed to be, so I fully understood what was happening without distractions, but it seems you have taken the lesson to heart. Being prepared for fire safety is paramount. People don't think it will happen to them until it does.

    Joshua Duncan @ Focus Insurance Atlanta


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