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Pet Safety

Each year, more than 500,000 pets are affected by house fires. Everyone in our homes needs protection, including our pets. Check out smart pet fire safety strategies that help your family and your pets stay safe in case of a fire at home.

1. Don't Let Pets Start Fires
Pets Kitchen Safety
  • Don’t allow pet patrol in the kitchen while you’re cooking. All those wonderful aromas can tempt an agile cat or dog to investigate the stovetop, and that can lead to a kitchen fire disaster.
  • A tall dog can turn on the oven or stove with just a quick lift of the paw. Avoid this accident by protecting control knobs with covers or removing them when you leave the house.
  • When it’s cold outside, pets are attracted to the warmth of fireplaces and space heaters. Encourage them to safely snuggle up in their own beds away from open flames and heating elements.


2. Have an All-Inclusive Fire Response Plan
  • Assign each pet to a family member who’s responsible for ensuring quick passage out of the house. Store leashes and carriers close to exits for fast, easy access.
  • The noise and excitement of a fire can scare pets into their own safety zones. Confirm their hiding spots now so that you can quickly round them up during a home evacuation.
  • Develop an advanced plan for sheltering the pets in case you can’t return to the house for several days. Check with pet-loving neighbors who might be willing to exchange emergency housing favors.
  • Put together a dog- or cat-centric survival kit. Stock a small bag with a few cans of food and any necessary pet medications as a part of home fire evacuation supplies. 
Pets checklist


3. Protect Your Pets Inside and Out
Pets Doghouse
  • Make the dog house safer for outdoor canines who prefer sleeping in their own space. Keep the area clear of plants and materials that can burn. Don’t isolate your pet with closed gates or tall fencing.
  • Replace collars and leashes at the first signs of wear. They become a lifeline between you and your pet during a fire. Also, update tags and microchips with any changes in your contact information.
  • If your pet doesn’t always come when you call, put in a little extra training time so that you can count on a positive response. This can be a pet lifesaver in case of fire.
  • Firefighters need to know if there are animals in a burning house. Pet Alert Stickersin windows can save four-legged lives especially if you aren’t home when a fire breaks out. Free Pet Safety Packs which include Pet Alert Stickers are available from the ASPCA, click HERE.

Recreational Fire Safety

Recreational Fire Safety

What is a Recreational Fire? A recreational fire is an outdoor fire (like a campfire) that has a total area of 3 feet or less wide and 2 feet or less in height. In Wildland Fire Areas, the maximum area is 2 feet or less wide.

Open flames or campfires can be dangerous and can cause injuries or wildfires.  Some things to know to help prevent these kinds of accidents:

  • Obtain permission from the property owner or make sure a fire is permitted.
  • Keep your fire to a manageable size. A small fire is easier to control.
  • Clear away flammable vegetation such as leaves and sticks, overhanging low branches and shrubs.
  • Maintain separation from structures and combustibles, at least 25 feet
  • Never leave the fire unattended at any time. Fires should be closely monitored by a responsible adult so that everyone can remain safe.
  • Keep a bucket of water, fire extinguisher, shovel, or garden hose nearby.
  • Pour lots of water on the fire. Drown ALL embers, not just the red ones. Pour water until all hissing sounds stop. Continue to add water and stir with a shovel until all material is cool.
  • Never: Burn trash, rubbish, garbage, or yard waste as it is prohibited by law.


Talk to your kids about fire safety.

Teach your children about fire safety and what they can do to prevent fires. The more they know, the less likely they are to cause an accident. Store matches and lighters in a safe place, and out of reach. If clothing catches fire, Stop, Drop, and Roll. Stop. Drop to the ground and cover your face with your hands. Roll over and over or back and forth until the fire is out.

For more information, see the Recreational Fire Safety Guideline Brochure

Evacuation Terminology

In 2020 the State of California moved to create a more consistent message regarding evacuations. They opted to utilize the same terminology throughout the state to eliminate confusion. Here is a list of the new definitions.

  • Evacuation Order: Immediate threat to life. This is a lawful order to leave now. The area is lawfully closed to public access.
  • Evacuation Warning: Potential threat to life and/or property. Those who require additional time to evacuate and those with pets and livestock should leave now.
  • Shelter in Place: Go indoors. Shut and lock doors and windows. Prepare to self-sustain until further notice and/or contacted by emergency personnel for additional direction.

For more details on the updated terminology, visit the Evacuation Terminology page on the VC Emergency website.

06 29 20 Evac Terminology

Heat Wave Safety

Heat Wave SafetyBefore a Heat Wave

  • Listen to local weather forecasts and stay aware of upcoming temperature changes.
  • Discuss heat safety precautions with members of your household. Have a plan for wherever you spend time— home, work, and school—and prepare for power outages.
  • Check the contents of your emergency disaster kit in case a power outage occurs.
  • Know those in your neighborhood who are elderly, young, sick, or overweight. They are more likely to become victims of excessive heat and may need help.
  • If you do not have air conditioning, choose places you could go to for relief from the heat during the warmest part of the day (schools, libraries, theaters, malls).
  • Ensure that your animals' needs for water and shade are met.

What To Do During a Heat Wave

  • Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio for critical updates from the National Weather Service (NWS).
  • Never leave children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
  • Slow down, stay indoors, and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
  • Postpone outdoor games and activities.
  • Take frequent breaks if you must work outdoors.
  • Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
  • Check on your animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat.
  • If you engage in swimming in a body of water, make sure you are water safe.