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Ensuring Your Dog's Safety in Case of Fire: Harness Storage and Beyond

Imagine the unthinkable: a fire breaks out in your home. Amidst the chaos, your top priority is the safety of your beloved four-legged companions. In this blog post, we'll share a personal story of a fire incident and the resulting importance of keeping your dogs safe. We'll explore the benefits of harness storage, offer practical tips for emergency preparedness, and provide additional resources for dog safety.

Recently, I was traveling with a friend, and checking out of our rental home when we saw billowing smoke from a couple of houses down. Before hopping in our cars to leave, we walked down the street to see what was going on. After seeing the panicked look on some neighbor’s faces, we realized that there was a fire in the home. The next door neighbor started banging on the door of the home, but nobody was answering. While my friend called 911, I noticed that the door had an electronic doorbell and what looked like a camera, so I rang the doorbell. The owner quickly responded through the doorbell- saying “hi- is something going on??”, to which I replied “YES, your house is on fire! Are you inside?” In a very panicked voice, the guy said, “Oh my god, no, but I have two dogs inside!!” I started to panic even more then, but he continued, “my back door should be open, and their harnesses and leashes are on the backdoor.” I relayed the info to one of the neighbors, who ran to the back, and told the guy we were sending someone back there.

A few minutes later, two blood hounds were brought to a side yard, looking very scared, but in leashes, and safe. We had rescued the dogs! This initial action lasted no longer than 10 minutes total, maybe about 15-20 minutes after the fire had first started. The entire ordeal, once the fire trucks came and extinguished the fire took a couple of hours, and who knows what would have happened to the dogs if 1) I hadn’t rang the doorbell (I have a similar doorbell, so I was familiar with its ability), and 2) if the guy wasn’t able to quickly tell us how to find the harness for his dogs.

This entire incident made me reflect pretty deeply about what would happen in a similar situation in my own home if I wasn’t there and someone needed to rescue my dog. I realized it was a genius move to have a harness and leash readily available for someone to grab in a pinch if needed. However, it also brought up a few more questions for me- would my dog come if a stranger called? Where does my dog often hide during the day or when scared?

I’m not sure I have a strong answer for whether my dog would come when called, as she sometimes just sits quietly in the house when I call her. However, if there were an emergency and loud noises, she just might. I do know that I could tell a stranger where to find her if she didn’t come (or where to tell emergency personnel where to find her)- as she always hides in my closet during the day, or when she hears scary noises like thunder, the vacuum cleaner, or even sometimes the dryer.

All of this put me down a rabbit hole of researching and thinking about an emergency plan, and I urge you to as well. See below for some things to consider:

Harness Storage Options:

  1. Hanging Hooks or Pegs: Install hooks or pegs near your exit door to hang the harness, ensuring it's easily accessible during an emergency.

  2. Dedicated Drawer or Basket: Allocate a specific drawer or basket near your dog's essentials to store the harness, making it readily available when needed.

  3. Backpack with Emergency Supplies: Opt for a backpack that doubles as a harness storage option, allowing you to keep both the harness and emergency supplies in one convenient place.

Additional Considerations for Dog Safety:

  1. Go Bag: Prepare a go bag or emergency kit with essentials like food, water, medications, and a copy of your dog's medical records.

  2. Dog Identification: Ensure your pet has proper identification, such as a collar with updated tags or a microchip, to increase the chances of a safe reunion if you get separated.

  3. Recall Training: Teach your dog a reliable recall command, which can be crucial in emergency situations.

  4. Fire Drills and Smoke Detectors: Consider incorporating fire drills into your routine and train your dog to react to the sound of a smoke detector.

  5. Knowing Hiding Spots: Familiarize yourself with your dog's favorite hiding spots, allowing you to locate them quickly during emergencies.

  6. Canine Emergency Kit: Assemble a canine emergency kit with items like a pet first aid kit, extra leash, collapsible water bowl, and a familiar blanket or toy.

For more in-depth information on dog fire safety and emergency preparedness, we recommend checking out the article here by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Your dog's safety is of paramount importance, especially in emergency situations like fires. By implementing proper harness storage, preparing an emergency kit, and being proactive in your approach, you can provide a secure environment for your furry companions. Stay prepared, stay vigilant, and cherish the peace of mind that comes with knowing you're doing everything possible to protect your beloved dogs.

Don’t wait until it is too late! Make sure you are able to identify some of the things on this list and are ready for an emergency. If you need a harness that is easy to hang and can store some of the essential items for your dog (like a contact card, medications, poop bags, and some treats), check out my cross-body harness & backpack combo here.

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