Stories From The Street: House Fire Started by Dog Smoking in Bed
How many times have you seen these headlines and thought to yourself it could never happen to me? We’ll I’ve never actually seen such a story, but there are many house fires related to dogs, dog beds and dog houses. As the weather gets colder many dog lovers want to keep their outdoor pets warm […]
How many times have you seen these headlines and thought to yourself it could never happen to me? We’ll I’ve never actually seen such a story, but there are many house fires related to dogs, dog beds and dog houses.
As the weather gets colder many dog lovers want to keep their outdoor pets warm during the winter. So they run an extension cord to the doghouse and place a light bulb inside or an electric blanket. Sometimes the light overheats the interior of the doghouse or drops onto the bedding material and ignites the doghouse and anything close by.
The electric blankets do the same thing, or the pet is chewing on the electric blanket and causes a short. Often these doghouses are on the porch of the home or next to a shed or garage, and you know what happens next. I’ve responded to four house fires caused by doghouses. Each was a significant fire loss, and each was at night when the family was asleep. One was on the front porch and three were on back decks.
I’m a big-time dog lover and built a great insulated dog house for my pet Blackie. When temperatures dipped into the single digits, I would sometimes go out to check on her. As I reached through the cloth door covering to check on her, she would lick my hand. I would notice her body heat had the temperature within the doghouse nice and toasty. So if built right, a doghouse doesn’t even need a heat source. But if you do want one, you can shop online for a heated mat that should be safety tested and rated by a national testing laboratory.
Next month, October, is Fire Prevention Month. You might have heard about it, read about it, or seen an advertisement on TV, but what does Fire Prevention Month mean to you? You could ask your kids, and most of them have learned a few things in school that need to be part of your home safety plan. Take some time to talk to your kids about fire safety this month!
Our local fire departments provide fire safety education programs teaching our children so they can teach the parents. Some things to review are to:
- Change the battery in your smoke detectors, test them and make sure they work properly.
- Buy a fire extinguisher and mount it in an area accessible even if the kitchen, garage, or furnace catches fire.
- Remove combustibles from around sources of heat (hot water heaters, breaker panels & furnaces).
- Have your chimney cleaned and inspected if you burn wood.
- Store gasoline in a shed (Not in the garage or crawlspace).
- Prepare a home fire escape plan, reviewing how to get out of the house (even if the main exit is unusable).
- Talk about the importance of calling 911 for fire-police-medical emergencies.
- Make sure your address is large enough and visible from the street (this is really important at night). Reflective numbers really do make a difference in a timely emergency response.
- Cut shrubs blocking access to fire hydrants and tree limbs blocking street signs.
- Stop by your local fire station for additional information and fire safety education material.
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