Dog Health Safety

You know those stickers you can buy that asks your fire department to save your pets in case of fire? They also call them emergency window clings or window signs. Well, you can save your money, because all theyre going to wind up being is meaningless window decoration. Im not saying that the manufacturers of these window clings are out to take your money. Perhaps they just dont know that these stickers arent effective for the purpose theyre intended to serve. Here is what I recently learned:

I purchased a sticker because I thought firefighters were trained to look for them. I asked my Fire Chief if theres a particular window that a sticker like this is best placed for immediate recognition. From what he told me, and I got the impression that this is apparently pretty much universal the way he talked,fire fighters pay absolutely no attention to emergency window stickers.

Thats not to say they wont attempt to save your pet, buttheir training standards and policies do not include responding as we think they would upon viewing a window stickertelling them that you have pets in your house and pleads try to save them. My thought was that if they know a pet is inside because of the sticker, they would consider this a rescue priority. Oh boy, was I ever wrong! One reason they dont, is that people move and sometimes the stickers remain in place even if the new homeowner doesnt have pets. Removing unnecessary stickers might be one of those little details we just dont get around to right away. So, then the fire fighters are risking their own lives by searching for pets that dont exist. Not good.

From the discussion I had with my Fire Chief, its my understanding that fire fighters do a building search following training standards and guidelines. They will not put any fire fighters(s) at risk to search for pets inside a burning building. I was told they wont even pick up an occupied crate and carry it out. What they do is to open the crate door and let them out, leaving the pet to find their own way out of the burning house.Ifthey find their way outside in their panic, your terrified pet is left to fend for itself. A pet in a panic situation is probably going to run as far away as it can. It may outlive the fire, but it may not outlive the oncoming car as it dashes across the street to get away from the flames. You can only hope someone on scene will try to confine it for you if you are not there yourself. But remember,a freaked out animal is also a potential fear biter, so anyone making the attempt to snatch Fido up and put him in a safe place, risks being bitten.

Here at our house we find this standard disturbing, but no matter how I tried, there wasnothingI could do to sway my Fire Chief to change any rules, policies or ways they do things. Believe me, I tried. If youre lucky, youll find a few pet loving fire fighters on the scene that will safely do what they can to help. Chances are they arent going to violate policy to do it (which could put their job in jeopardy) and theyre most definitely not going to risk human lives to accomplish trying to save your pet.

Imnotsaying that human lives should be put at risk to save a pet, but youd think there is a better way to do this than to just let a pet loose in a house fire. The chances of them finding their own way out are probably no better than 50/50 which to me is not good enough odds. A panicked pet may just try to find something to hide under or in, which is not going to save their life. Streaking through the house, I tend to think the pet is a liability to firefighters as well.

If the pet is crated, how hard is it to pick up the crate and carry it out? Ive never been a fire fighter and I dont mean to be judgemental. Maybe this is significantly more risky than I imagine. Seems to me if the door is a long way from the pets location, they might consider breaking a window and handing the crate out to someone waiting. Some crates are to big for this and a panicked animal running loose in a fire is probably going to be impossible to catch in order to hand them out a nearby window.

I keep our furkids leashes hanging on the wall by their crates. I balked at my Fire Chief telling me that would do them no good becausethe fire fighter isnt going to grab the leash and put it on the dogs to walk them outinstead of just opening the crate door. But if you think about that after you calm down, in a way it makes sense. The animal may be cowering at the back of its crate in fear and the owner themself may have difficulty getting the animal to come to them. The fire fighter would have to take time in a burning house to attempt to get the animal leashed before fully opening the crate door. What about the dog thats reacting aggressively to all thats going on around it?A terrified animal may just bite the very person thats trying to save it. The fire fighters wear protective clothing, but this gear is made to be fire retardant, not bite-proof and more than likely not enough to protect them from a dog bite, particularly if the dog is a large one. Trying to put myself in the place of a fire fighter posed with making the instantaneous decision of opening the crate door to a dog or cat to try to try to leash it to walk it out of a house fire, I myself may be forced to think otherwise. Imagine in particular a terrorized protective breed dog, faced with strangers swarming all around their crate, commotion everywhere the dog looks and the house burning down around it.

Is it asking to much for our fire departments to come up with a viable, safe solution to try to save something so precious to the homeowner?Their house is burning, theyre likely going to loose a significant amount of property, perhaps even their home. Do they have to lose their pet, too?

I also have to wonder, if fire fighters arent trained to look for emergency window stickers, what does that say about the stickers that tell them their are children or disabled people inside the burning building?

Wed dearly love to hear from some experienced firefighters on this. Maybe you can tell us what your experiences have been fighting fires where there are pets inside. Whats the percentage of pets that survive? How do the pets react? Can you make suggestions for pet owners to help keep their pets as safe as possible should they experience a house fire? Is there anything pet owners can do to help fire fighters be safeandrescue our pets?

*Note that this is howourlocal fire department operates. Most if not all fire departments must follow certain standards, guidelines and policies. I do believe that some standards are Federally mandated. However, your fire department may do some things differently. This article is not by any means meant to be an overall of every single fire department in the country. We recommend you inquire of your own fire department regarding its operating procedures, which may differ from ours.

Some years ago I came home from work one evening to find my street cordoned off and fire trucks in front of my apartment building. I then saw my upstairs neighbors apartment shooting flames from the front windows. There were many firefighters on the lawn in front standing watching while others were in the affected apartment with the hoses and others were in the hallway. I raced to my entrance to get to my two 12 week old Chihuahua puppies (my first dogs) out of their playpen in the living room, about 15 feet from my apartment door and was stopped by a firefighter. I begged him to let me get my dogs out, he said no, I begged him to ask one of the firefighters in the hall in front of my door to grab my dogs, and no. I watched in horror and emotional agony for an hour on the front lawn, every second believing my dogs had died of smoke inhalation. Finally I was permitted in to my apartment, and the firefighters told me they had taken extra care not to damage my couch with water, having covered it in plastic and that they would appreciate my telling their supervisors that they did a good job. Im thankful, of course, that the fire was contained. But I was so deeply emotionally affected by this experience you can just imagine how I feel about it all to this day.

Wow, that was quite a horrific experience and Im so sorry you had to live it. I do hope your pups were ok.

I think I could tell the supervisor that I was pleased my couch wasnt damaged but Id then go on a rant about the care-less attitude of the firefighters when it came to my pups. I wouldnt have cared if my entire apartment burned up as long as my dogs were ok. I would definitely let my displeasure be known, what happened to me is inexcusable. They were in your apartment and took time to cover your couch but couldnt grab two helpless tiny puppies and take them to safety? THAT SUCKS!

I have been a Firefighter/Paramedic and I can assure you any department I have worked for pay very close attention for window stickers when we do a scene survey and walk around the structure when we first arrive. This is looking for stickers that show where childrens rooms are as well as Pet stickers. We will also check for pets if we find any indication of pets inside the house.

It is also important if you are involved in a vehicle accident to let us know about any pets that were in the car so we can look around the area if they have gotten out following the accident. Personally after the people are checked out I will check the pets as well and in some cases it might be suggested they be taken in to the vet and checked over.

I have on occasion when on night shift taken a dog hit by a car placed them on a backboard due to broken leg and started an IV then met the local vet at 0300 at his clinic. This was not liked to well by the shift supervisor but we were slow. I have answered 911 calls from frantic owners of a choking dog and talked them through the obstructed airway (pet version) and had a unit go by non emergency that was close to make sure everything worked out. The lady cleared the airway herself with the obstructed airway maneuver.

I have never met an Emergency Services professional who would not go above and beyond for those who give so much unconditional love and little in return.

In the past month we have resuscitated (artificial ventilation ) one bunny a dog and one cat. It was one tough bunny he survived a fully involved structure somehow.

You are truly an amazing wonderful caring person! Thank you so much for all you do not only for people but the animals! After reading another email which held a very sad story, your comments have warmed my heart!

I would rather have a sticker and have the possibility of it being ignored, than not have a sticker and not even have the chance to alert a firefighter that I have a pet. Also, while it may be a false sense of security if it makes you feel better and like you did everything you could to protect your pet, then you should put a sticker up.

I was so disheartened to read that some fire departments/firefighters would just ignore these signs. Heartened again to read that some will care. I dont know what our fire departments policy is. I do pray that my house never has a fire. I hope I am here if it does and I will save my cats. I hope that, heaven forbid, if Im not here and there is a fire that my precious two kitties are saved. Of course no human life must be risked but if possible, save my two cats. They are very precious to me!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us and I totally agree its sad that some fire departments took the stand that ours did. We have a new chief now so hopefully his way of doing things is different and better than the previous one.

where can I get the in case of fire please save my pet window stickers

You can do Internet searches or search on pet supplies websites or go to pet stores.

I have been a paramedic firefighter for over 13 years

Rest assured Im looking for you pets and will do my best to get them out alive ,

Please understand if a person is trapped they are my priority .

Dogs and cats hide in places that are two small for me to search , in a fully involved blaze it is pitch black I can barely see my hand in front of my face .

I have rescued and resuscitated 4 dogs in my Career , 1 cat . A couple snakes

And one pissed off fox ! Never have I had to save a cat in a tree.

Put your stickers on your door I will see it . Your animal loving paramedic.

I hate these window decals and theyre a waste of money. They faded to white within the first month and I had to just throw them away.

Im sorry you had a bad experience with the stickers you purchased. I would imagine the sun probably faded it out just like it does curtains or anything else in the window for awhile. I dont know if another sticker manufacturer would help or not.

As a fire fighter I can tell you I, as well as most of my fellow fire fighters, when finding a pet will try to get them out. Most times we dont see the stickers because they are hidden in the smoke or we are just too focused on what we are about to do. But I have resuced several dogs and one piranha. One dog we were told about and we did a search for him and found him. I was on my hands and knees and opened a door and all I saw was a big wet nose and tongue on my face mask. Cats are a different story, you most often never find a cat. But they have an uncany ability to survive. I have seen houses gutted and when overhauling the cat runs out. Oh and sorry to say the piranha didnt make it.

Why is it even a discussion? Its just a sticker for Gods sake, its not like its breaking the bank! Put the sticker up if they ignore it then youre no worse off than you would have been anyway. But if you have a firefighter who is an animal lover or just a compassionate person, and they see the alert and save your pet, then it is well worth it! My uncle was an FDNY firefighter and he has told me stories of trying to save BIRDS in fires b/c he is an animal lover and HE chooses to take whatever risk may be involved. At least putting up the sticker gives that option. I would do ANYTHING to ensure my dogs safety putting up a fire sticker is just one simple and inexpensive way theres no reason not to at least have that information available.

As a firefighter, I have to say, Im not sure what our policy is? Ill be finding out though! As for the decals, Id say to put them on the lower left corner of the front door. An odd spot, but when were going in, were on our hands and knees, opening the door so thats where our eyes will be!

Thanks for the great idea. I think what Im going to do is to put the darn stickers back up and hope that if firefighters ever need to respond to my house that those responding will be dog lovers and will do what they can to help my furkids. I would hope that sticker would be at least a 50% chance vs. 0% with no sticker.

I have two dogs that I love more than anything!! When I go to bed I close my bedroom door to keep the dogs in the room.on my night stand I have two slip on leashes. Each leash has a dog tag. In case of fire, I can slip the leashes on my dogs and break out of my bedroom patio door. At least, this is my plan. If I lost my babies life would not be worth living.

Here is the response email from my Valley Park, MO fire department about window sitckers..Once again let me say, THEY ROCK!!!

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I am sorry, we do not have or sell pet window stickers, I believe there are several organizations that have them available, and I am pretty sure you can get them at petsmart or petco. While our first priority is protecting human lives, we definately look out for our four legged friends, and if we see a window sticker alerting us to a pet, we will do our best to keep an eye out for them when working an emergency situation at your home. I dont know if you saw our website, but we recently purchased pet oxygen masks, and even had a cat rescue at a call last month. Thank you for your inquiry, and let me know if there is anything else I can help you with.

Thank you to all the firefighters who actually give a damn! It is much appreciated. I know in the two fires that happened in my family fire fighters did try to rescue the animals. In the worse fire all of them died except for the fish with no window decal, while the lesser fire my sister had a sticker that said she had two cats and they did take note of it and find them and they came out unscathed. I think there is everything to gain and nothing to lose as far as the sticker goes. I think its ignorant not to do what is in your power to help. And similarly, firefighters are supposed to do their best. Their best should include scanning the area for critters. Mrs. DKR can go to hell.

Thanks sooooo much for sharing this with us. What wonderful people to make such a valuable donation! Im totally impressed! These folks really ROCK!

We are getting a new fire chief within the next few months and Im hoping that the new chief will take a more caring view on rescuing pets from burning buildings.

Id just like to give a shout out to my local fire dept. After reading the statements above I went to Valley Park Missouri Fire Dept website and this is the first thing I saw.

New Equipment For Our 4 Legged Friends

We here at the Valley Park Fire District would like thank our Board of Director Danny Wilburn and his wife Marguerite for personally donating pet oxygen masks for our fire apparatus. We recently became aware of this piece of equipment when assisting a neighboring fire department on a second alarm apartment fire where a cat was rescued and revived using a pet oxygen mask. The masks are called Recovery Oxygen Masks made by SurgiVet, and are used to provide oxygen to animals that are in respiratory distress, and in our line of work will usually be from smoke inhalation. They come in three sizes and are reusable. We hope we never have to use them, but if the situation arises its good to know that we have the tools to help our four legged friends also. Here is a picture of Harley, one of our firefighters dog, who was gracious enough to demonstrate how they work.

I am a retired fire chief and can tell you that the emergency pet decals are important. After I retired several fellow firefighters and I helped create decals because this is something that CAN make a difference.

Decals need to be made of high quality material to withstand direct OUTDOOR WEATHER.SUN AND COLD. Decals inside the house melt under heat and are not visible from the outside. Clings do not withstand the heat of a fire and anything inside has a high probability of meltingif phones melt, decals can easily fail when they are placed on the inside of the window. Animals can frequently survive in this enviornment because they are so low to the ground. Secondly, we recommend placing one decal on a visible OUTSIDE window.and a second on the electric or gas meter. That is where firefighters go initially to secure the ultitites to the building. Firefighters will not unnecessarily risk their lives to save a pet, but if they know a pet is in the building they will look behind the washer/dryer, closets, under sofas etc. as time permits. Some of my saddest times were of memories of family pets.that we could have possibly saved.if only we had known there were inside. Decals at least give animals the chance and professional firefighters will do everything possible to save any lifepet fact a number of departments have equipment especially made to revive animals after a fire. The statement that these decals are not valuable is in my view simply ridiculous..how does it hurt anything to have decal alerting firefighters? Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this subject.

You and your fellow community members are very lucky that your department DOES pay attention to these stickers! It doesnt hurt a thing, except my fire chief told me theyre useless because THEY dont even bother.

I would like to say that not all firemen are as cold hearted as you describe. My boss is a fireman with North Queensbury fire department and he will go any lengths to save a st week he enterd a burning apartment to rescue a dog for the wheel chair bound tennant, although the dog did end up dying in the fire he made every attempt to save it because he would want someone to do the same for his dog.

Reading this, and some other info, I think Ill pass on a window sticker. But I am reminded of a far more effective tool than any sign get to know your neighbors!

If youre home, its not an issue since youll save the pets and call the fire dept or at least be there to advocate for their rescue. At issue here is how to save our pets when we arent there to plea for their rescue.

A neighbor who knows you, knows your pets, and is on your side will be a FAR more effective tool than any window decal. Likely even without having a preset agreement, your neighbors will see the fire, call for help, and then break into your house to save your dog. I know that I would do that for MY neighbors.

Even if they dont break in to your house to save your dog, theyll be there at the curb, yelling at the fireman. Did you get the dog? Shes got a dog! Save her dog!

WAY more effective than a sign also cheaper. And there are other benefits to becoming friendly with the neighbors as well, Im sure you can think of a few.

Ya know, thats a really good thought. One I hadnt thought of anyway. For those of us who worry because the stickers mean nothing here, this helps! Thanks!

Actually my dad, brother and uncle are ALL firefighters and they are trained to look for everything and anything in a burning house that moves! The way they see it, is that animals are like children to their owners and they have a life and as a firefighter they are trained to SAVE LIVES! If my house ever got on fire, i would stay in it until i found all 3 of my dogs. I wouldnt leave them to fend for themselves and get out of a burning house! That is the only thing that would be worth grabbing if my house was burning down!

and all you non animal lovers can kiss it! most animals are better then most people i have EVER met in my life.

So true! I would do the same for my cats.

Hello everyone thought that maybe the idea of the neon paper with large black letters is a good alert pluss I thing adding posted date! and update the date on it every six months, placeing pets names, sex, your first name and a cell contact would make more awareness and taken serious, what do you all thing of this idea.

My aunts apartment went on fire and they left the cat behind when they left the house. The fire dept in chicago went right in and found the cat under the couch it bit the firefighter but he came carrying it out of the house so I definitely think it depends on fire depts. Ive never seen the fire depts here just let animals out on their own.

Im not sure if the stickers work or not, but I dont think they can hurt. Two nights ago a house in my neighborhood caught fire and the owners werent home. A passerby called 911. When the first truck arrived a neighbor informed the firemen that there was a dog inside. I dont know if a sticker was on the door or not or if she just knew they had a dog. Some of the firemen immediately began assessing the fire while others went in search of the dog. As more units arrived (ultimately 10 trucks, 3 alarms) more were available to search. The dog was located and brought out of the house onto the yard. He was unconscious, but at least five paramedics began working on him immediately. About 10 minutes later the dog recovered and jumped to his feet. It was amazing. There was a loud cheer from the crowd that had gathered. It was a very moving and heartwarming experience. Im not sure what the official fire department policy is for my area when it comes to pets, but these people were very fortunate to have a fire crew that was willing to look. If they hadnt known the dog was there, they probably wouldnt have looked, therefore I think the stickers are a big plus. Its all about communication.

Hi John I think its safe to say this is from all pet owners everywhere, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the pets you were able to save and to the EMS personnel for their efforts and saves as well. We also appreciate the detailed explanation of how things are done.

Im a retired Firefighter and a pet dad. The official policy in most Departments is:

1. Stay safe, an injured or god forbid; dead Firefighter is of no use to anyone.

2. Evacuate all people! Trapped or injured. And secure sight.

5. Assess site and evaluate cause, damage, performance and safety.

When entering a burning building a sweep is done to determine occupancy. All rooms are swept if persons are not accounted for. An identfying mark is usually placed on each door when cleared and then closed. (prevents the fire from spreading more rapidly)

After the building is cleared it may be possible to rescue pets and I have on many occasions retrieved animals and witnessed EMS apply oxygen and assisted respiration. I have also spent hours chasing down frightened animals who escaped on there own and were running wildly on country roads and freeways.

The best thing to do is train your pet to go to their kennel when frightened or ordered. My cat automatically hides in his transport crate when the building fire alarm goes off (also during fireworks nights) so its easy for me to evacuate him.

My apartment neighbors who have the Help Stickers work together to make sure as many pets can be saved as possible. Some of us have exchanged keys and the super has access to all units in case of emergency. BUT!!! Only if it is safe!

It is unreasonable to expect a Firefighter to risk life or limb for a pet, I know how precious mine is but I couldnt bear knowing someone was injured because I didnt do everything possible to protect my pet.

Smoke Detectors and Sprinklers Save Lives. So does closing doors and practicing for evacuating. Make a plan and practice it often.

Mrs DKR, no one is asking for the firefighters to risk their lives, only that they do what they can while theyre in the burning building. We ask them to be aware. The second sweeps are usually department policy to ensure that the fire is contained, not for the benefit of animals. The comment about an animals life not being worth a human life is especially strange on a site for German Shepherds, as many trained police dogs are Shepherds and those officers treat their animals as fellow officers and partners, and they risk a lot to save them if in a critical situation.

I was skeptical about the stickers, but after reading Yogis comment, I agree that its better to have one than to wonder what if.

Mrs DKR the fact that you are not an animal lover explains why you are not fully understanding the comments of the animal lovers here. Its nice to know that some people who are not animal lovers do still care about their safety, not all non-animal lovers have that compassion. Not every one is, and thats fine, we dont expect everyone to be an animal lover. We also understand that people who are not animal lovers, cannot comprehend the pain of losing one. Its just something they dont get if you follow me, and that is not a criticism, just a fact that some people simply do not understand that for many animal lovers, their pets are their children. For some pet owners, their pet is literally all they have. I seriously doubt that anyone whos posted their comments would expect nor want a firefighter to put themselves in *additional* danger to save their pet. They only want the firefighters to be aware that there is a pet(s) inside (which the stickers do for them because otherwise how could they know?) and if at all possible without *added* danger to the firefighter, to get their pet out which sometimes *is* possible. From the responses that are coming, it seems to me that its possible that fire departments headed by an animal lover will do what they safely can. I know my Chief is not, therefore I have to deal with the knowledge that he has ordered his people to not bother even when its possible. Well, as safely as possible in the face of a fire, which is really iffy.

Really- people need to get a life. I am not an animal lover, but I do care about their safety. But- to ask firefighters to do a second sweep of a burning house to save FIDO or the cat is terrible. It is not worth losing hard working fire fighter (Husbands, sons and Fathers) for the sake of saving a dog or cat. The death of an animal is sad. But how would you feel if a man gave his life to save your dog? Every minute a firefighter is in a burning building, is a minute he can lose his life.

I know people love their pets, but a little balance could save a precious human life.

Im on my towns emergency planning team and gave our friends a Save My Pet sticker a few months ago. They posted it immediately on the front door. This past weekend their home was completely gutted by a fire that took 25 firefighters from four towns to put it out. My friends and I extend our heartfelt thanks to the fireman who saw the sign on the door and went back in to rescue their beloved dog.

I agree with Yogi. Better to know that you did all that you could. Even though the fireman arent likely to risk their lives to save the pets and may not pay attention to the notice and do a pet count, Im still going to post the signs. There could be many emergency situations where they may not have to risk their lives to sa