SOUTH CAROLINA (WMBF) - A new data analysis by the National Fire Protection Association reveals nearly 1,000 house fires are accidentally started each year by pets.
Thursday marks National Pet Fire Safety Day, prompting officials to urge animal owners to "pet proof" their homes. According to the United States Fire Administration, an estimated 500,000 pets are affected annually by fires.
The No. 1 piece of equipment to blame for pet-induced fires is a stove or cook top, according to officials with Horry County Fire Rescue. Officials suggest homeowners take preventative measures such as removing stove knobs or covering them with a protective cover to avoid any contact with their pet.
Other tips to prevent pets from starting home fires:
- Ensure your pet is not left unattended around an open flame and make sure to thoroughly extinguish any open flames
- Invest in flameless candles that contain a light bulb rather than an open flame
- Do not leave a glass water bowl for your pet outside in the sun on a wooden deck. The sun's rays, when filtered through the glass and water, can heat up and ignite the deck beneath it.
Officials advise pet owners pet proof their homes by taking an interior and exterior walk and look for areas where pets might start fires inadvertently. Loose wires, according to Horry County Fire Rescue, pose an additional fire hazard.