Creating a Fire Evacuation Plan for Pet-Friendly Offices

This time of year, the danger of fire is always on our mind, thanks to our ongoing drought and high wildfire risk here in Texas. It’s a topic, though, that is important everywhere throughout the year since fires strike homes and businesses every single day. Many of those fires impact pets. The National Volunteer Fire Council reports that fires affect half a million pets each year and nearly 10 percent of those pets do not survive.

More and more businesses are becoming pet-friendly, permitting employees to bring their dogs to work. That means it’s especially important for workplaces to have a plan to keep those furry office workers safe in the event of a fire.

Today we received these tips from Trupanion, a pet-friendly workplace with more than 90 dogs and cats. Trupanion’s office fire safety plan was developed in collaboration with Seattle Fire Department officials and incorporates tips for ensuring protection, safe evacuations and communication with emergency personnel.

Trupanion’s Pet Fire Safety Plan

  • Evacuation maps need to be available to everyone. Post them in every conference room, bathroom, kitchen and copy room.
  • It’s important to stay calm and not panic. Pet owners should try to keep their pet as calm as possible.
  • If smoke and/or fire are detected, and the fire alarm has not sounded, locate the nearest fire alarm and pull it.
  • Calmly exit the building through the closest exit indicated on the evacuation map. Do not attempt to collect personal belongings. Pet owners should bring their pet with them, making sure the pet is on a leash at all times.
  • Pet owners should not attempt to retrieve their pet if they are not with them when the alarm sounds. Institute a “pet buddy” system – the pet buddy will evacuate their buddy pet if the owner is unavailable, or the fire evacuation team will evacuate pets left in the office.
  • Exit as quickly as possible so the fire department can perform rescue operations if necessary.
  • Conduct routine fire drills to ensure that these best practices become second nature.

For more tips and resources on pet fire safety, check out Trupanion’s Pet Fire Safety Page.

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About Paris Permenter & John Bigley

Paris Permenter and John Bigley are the award-winning authors of over 30 pet and travel books as well as the founders and publishers of CatTipper and DogTipper.