As a professional pet sitter, I go in and out of homes every day. Many of those homes have stickers in the window that say "in case of fire, save our pets" or some such thing. I wanted to know how effective these stickers are, so I contacted my local fire department.
I spoke with a fire fighter who outlined his department's policies, which–he made very clear–vary from city to city. He explained to me that the number one priority of fire fighters is to save lives, both human and animal. However, human life has a higher value than animal life. In the case of a fire, the fire fighters on scene will risk their own lives for other savable lives, and, as individuals, they have to calculate the risk based on the specific circumstances. They will not risk their own lives to save property or unsavable lives (in a room that is completely engulfed and collapsing, for example). Though animals are not as high a priority as humans, they rank much higher than property. Odds are, most fire fighters would go in after your pet, provided the risk of losing their own (human) life was low. Our local fire fighter said "our policy is to risk a little to save a lot." That includes pets.
So where do the window stickers come in?
Apparently, they were all the rage in the not so distant past. Fire departments printed them and gave them out. Our local fire department no longer does this, and, chances are, yours doesn't either. "It's a program that doesn't exist any more," our local fire fighter explained.
So does that mean the stickers in our window are obsolete?
Absolutely not. Though most pets are saved because a pet owner who got out of the home tells the fire fighters on scene that their pet is inside, in a case where the pet owner is unable to speak, fire fighters usually pay attention to a sticker, if they see it on a window. They will try to rescue any pets they find, so long as the risk to their own lives is low. The stickers, when updated, can be helpful to them for determining which pets they are looking for.
But if most fire departments aren't providing the stickers any more, how do we get one?
Designer Laura Sly has a fantastic solution in her "save our dog" stickers ("save our cat" stickers are coming soon!). Not only are the stickers she designed functional and arresting, they look great! Even the most stylish home can feel good about sticking one of these in the front window.
Laura has generously offered to give away ten "save our dog" stickers to ten well minded readers. Please enter this important giveaway and help protect your pets in case of fire.
Please contact your local fire department to discuss their policies on rescuing pets and window stickers and come back to tell us about it.