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July 15 is recognized as "National Pet Fire Safety Day." This nationwide awareness day educates pet owners about potential risks when pets are left home alone and provides them with proven prevention measures to ensure their safety.

In 2009, The American Kennel Club teamed up with the ADT Security Services and the National Volunteer Fire Council to establish National Pet Fire Safety Day, a day devoted to educating pet owners on how to keep their pets safe in the event of an emergency.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, pets or wild animals play a big role in starting about 750 home fires each year. These fires involve cooking equipment, fireplaces, wiring, candles, and more. It is important to keep in mind the following safety tips if you have a pet at home:

Keep pets away from stoves, countertops, candles, lamps, and space heaters.

Always use a metal or heat-tempered glass screen on a fireplace and keep it in place.

Have a "pet-free" zone at least 3 feet from the fireplace.

Consider battery-operated or flameless candles.

Watch pets to ensure they don't chew electrical cords.

"Making sure you have working smoke alarms is the first way to protect your family and pet in a home fire," said Mike Mann, Fire & Life Safety Captain for Thomasville Fire Rescue. "Working smoke alarms increase your chance of getting out of a fire by 50%."

Create a home evacuation plan that you can use to quickly escape from a fire and make sure your pets are a part of that plan. When leaving your home or securing your pet at night, secure your pet near an entrance so it's quicker to grab your pet on the way out in case of an emergency. In the event of a disaster, notify the firefighter if your pet is trapped inside so they can handle these emergencies with more care and equipment.

"Anything that you would do for your kids, do for your pets because that's the best way to keep them safe," said Captain Mann. Thomasville Fire Rescue offers free smoke and carbon monoxide alarm installations to ensure the community's safety.

Let today be the day to start your fire plan that ensures the safety of your family and your furry friends, too! For more information on pet fire safety, visit or call Thomasville Fire Rescue at 229- 227-4099.