Stickers alert firefighters to pets on site

LEIGHTON KEITH
Last updated 05:00 15/11/2012
tdn pet stand
CAMERON BURNELL
Station Officer Keith Murphy and Jackie Poles Smith with Max the Dalmatian. SPCA have produced stickers for people to put on their letterboxes so firefighters can see if animals are in the house.

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New Plymouth firefighters are supporting an initiative that would alert them to pets potentially trapped in an emergency situation.

The North Taranaki SPCA is selling pet alert stickers which can be placed on letterboxes, gates, doors or windows and are made of reflective material so will shine in torch light.

The stickers, which have space to mark how many dogs, cats, birds or other pets live in a building, were developed by the Greymouth SPCA after a dog died in a house fire.

North Taranaki SPCA spokeswoman Jackie Poles Smith said it was decided to use the idea after reading about a Rahotu man who was burnt when he tried to save his dog in a house fire.

"I think it's a fabulous idea," Mrs Poles Smith said.

"Obviously we are concerned about people's safety as well as animals' safety, we don't want people putting themselves at risk."

Station officer Keith Murphy said firefighters supported the idea.

"It gives us a little bit more information about what we might encounter," Mr Murphy said.

He said the stickers were a convenient way to alert firefighters that pets could be inside a burning house if it was unoccupied when the brigade arrived.

"Then we can sort out a strategy to try and remove the animals from the premises if they are endangered. We will enter the building or do whatever we can in the situation."

Mr Murphy said people should never re-enter a burning building to try to save an animal.

"Get out and stay out and call the emergency services."

He said animals trapped in a fire were often in a stressed state.

"In most cases a dog on a premises where there's a fire, they will just want to get out."

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- Taranaki Daily News

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