Yakima firefighters asks families to include their pets in emergency planning

YAKIMA, Wash. — The Yakima Fire Department is asking families to plan ahead for how to keep their pets safe in the event of a fire or other emergency.

Over the weekend, four pets were killed in two separate house fires in Yakima.

“The injury and loss for victims of a residential fire can be traumatic, made even more so by the passing of a beloved pet,” Yakima Fire Chief Aaron Markham said. “Our top priority when responding to a fire is the safety of the public and fire crews. When that safety is ensured, we will make every effort to rescue pets.”

The Yakima Fire Department, the American Red Cross and the ASPCA suggest pet owners:

  • Develop an escape plan and practice taking their pets with them, training pets to come to them when they call.
  • Arrange a place for their pets to stay in case they need to leave their home, such as a boarding kennel or a friend’s house.
  • Note where their pets like to hide and practice getting them out from their hiding spot and putting them in a crate or carrier.
  • Keep the phone number and address of a local animal hospital handy in case pets are injured in an emergency.
  • Get a rescue alert sticker to put on or near their front door that alerts firefighters to the fact that there are pets in their home, including how many and what type of pets are inside.
  • Make sure all pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date identification information.
  • Create an emergency supply kit specifically for pets, including pet food, water, medication and a photo of their pets in case of separation. A full list of items to include in a pet emergency kit can be found here.
  • Store emergency supplies and leashes close to an exit, where everyone can see it and knows where it is.