Do “Save My Pet” Stickers Really Work?
Many pet owners have "Save My Pets" stickers near or on their front doors to let emergency services such as the fire department know that there are pets inside. Some of these stickers even have fields where you can fill out what types of pets and how many you have.
But do they really work? Truthfully, it depends on the particular fire department involved and the circumstances surrounding the emergency if one should happen. If it is safe to do so, the emergency personnel may look for your pet, although people are a bigger priority than pets in emergency situations. You can't really expect emergency services to run into a burning building for a pet once all of the people have been safely evacuated, but the stickers can make a difference if firefighters are doing primary or secondary checks in a building. If they know there is a pet, they may be able to safely look for it. Keep in mind that if you live in a house and there's a fire, firefighters may come in through a window and not necessarily the front door. For the best chances, place stickers near your windows as well as the front door.
However, one of the biggest issue with these stickers and one of the reasons they may not be completely heeded is that many pet owners don't bother to remove the stickers when they move or when they no longer have pets.
There are many situations where a firefighter will be able to look for a pet, but they must make people their priority.
In other words, the stickers don't hurt, but you should have a backup plan in place, regardless.
Additional Safety Precautions
Be friendly with your neighbours if you are in a tightly-packed suburban neighbourhood or an apartment building. If you're not around in an emergency, they can help keep an eye out for your pets or let emergency services know about them.
Another tip is to consider monitored smoke detectors or a monitored home alarm system. Pets aren't able to call 911, and if there's a fire your alarm system can let emergency services know before the smoke or fire danger becomes big enough that neighbours will notice and call.
Some pets are able to jump on the counter and turn on the stove (we're looking at you, cats). The National Fire Protection Association actually says that this is one of the biggest causes of home fires related to pets. If your pet is known to wander around on your kitchen counter when you're not home, consider pulling off the stove knobs or covering them up.
For when you are home, have an evacuation plan for you and your pets (if it is safe to grab them before you go). Practice this escape route - for example, are you in an apartment building on an upper floor? In the even of a fire, elevators should be off-limits. Can your dog handle going down that many flights of stairs? Running through your evacuation plan in advance can help you determine what obstacles you'll face and how to get around them.
What are your plans for a fire? Do you have a "Save My Pet" sticker, and have you ever dealt with an emergency situation involving your pet?
Get your own "Save My Pet" Stickers
The ASPCA provides them here for free if you live in the United States and opt-in to their e-mail updates.
In Canada, Pet Valu sells them but you can also find them for free or in exchange for a donation at humane societies and pet expos.