Rescuing Your Pet During A Fire

Firefighters and EMT's say their first priority is always to rescue humans before animals

FARGO, N.D. — No one was injured in a balcony fire last night but firefighters did have to revive a cat.

Since many consider their pets to be a part of their family, KVRR’s Danielle Church found out what you should do to safely evacuate everyone, including your pet, during a house fire.

During a house or apartment fire, many times people will evacuate safely.

That is until they realize they forgot who some might consider to be one of the most important members of their family: their pet.

“We’ve seen a lot of windows get broken and doors get open to try and get the pet out. It alters the fire’s behavior sometimes,” said fire chief Dan Fuller, with the West Fargo Fire Department.

That’s why Fuller recommends people wait until the fire department arrives.

“If you’re evacuating the building and you’re able to grab your pet, do so at that point in time. If not, then we’ll come in after as we’re fighting the fire to try to get your pets out,” Fuller said. “A lot of times they’re scared. They’re going to be hiding places that we’ll find during a search but to have someone go back in with no protection would be kind of dangerous.”

Which is exactly what EMT’s say they get worried about.

“It’s not the flames we’re really concerned with. It’s the smoke that you get overcome with and you pass out and you could parish yourself. Let the firemen do their job,” said Don Martin with F-M Ambulance.

Not only do they have the tools to put out fires, but firefighters also have the right ones to save your pet. Floor cameras are just one of them.

“They can actually see the heat signatures of pets and stuff so the fire departments are more equipped than being able to find them and removing them,” Martin said.

If your pet is injured, they’ve still got things covered.

Just like there are oxygen masks for people, there are ones made for cats and dogs. While F–M Ambulance does not carry them, F–M fire departments and canine officers do.

“Pretty much every house fire, we end up having a pet or an animal that’s affected somehow. That’s why we carry that equipment in case we come across an animal with smoke inhalation or something like that. We can do the best we can to treat that animal,” Fuller said.

Both F–M EMT’s and firefighters say their first priority is still always saving people before they assist in saving a pet’s life.

F–M fire departments have been using snout oxygen masks for dogs and cats for ten years now.

Diamond in the Ruff Pet Rescue just donated a bunch to West Fargo’s Fire Department earlier this year.

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