a puppy running in front of an apartment building

Nearly 40,000 pets die every year in house fires. For commercial real estate owners with pet-owning tenants, it’s always a good time to review the recommendations for keeping building inhabitants (both pet and human) safe and the risk of fires low. 

What are the Risks of Pets Starting Home Fires?

Commercial building owners can start by educating their tenants about the ways pets can start fires. This can help prevent disaster in the first place by taking a careful look at some of the common risk factors for pets starting house fires, and how they can be avoided. 

Stoves & Cooktops

This is the number one way fires are started by pets. The fires are usually caused when pets accidentally turn on a burner(s) by hitting, jumping on or walking on one of the stove knobs. Thus, removing stove knobs when they’re not home is one way tenants can avoid a potential accident while their pets are home alone. Additionally, baby-safe knob covers are an alternative to removing the knobs. 

Lit Candles

Pets could easily jump up and knock over lit candles from countertops, tabletops or any other flat surfaces. Commercial building owners should insist pet-owning tenants (and really all tenants) either use flameless candles or never leave a candle lit when not at home. 

Electrical Cords

Some pets take a liking to electrical cords as a substitute for chew toys. Those cords can easily spark and cause an electrical fire, even if that’s well after the pet stopped chewing on it. So, encourage tenants to make sure all cords are secured, monitored and hidden as best as possible so they aren’t easily accessible by pets. 

How to Rescue Pets in Case of a Fire

Home fires are already devastating enough, so the last thing commercial building owners want is for tenants to also lose their furry friends. In the unfortunate case of a fire, there are some life-saving pet fire safety tips for getting out of the building. 

  • Ensure smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and fire exit instructions are properly placed and up to code. 
  • Maintain the building and residences to ensure they’re up to code and safe. 
  • Pet owners should always have leashes and pet carriers easy to access near exits so tenants can grab them as they’re exiting. 
  • When exiting the building via hallways/stairwells, wrap the pet in a damp blanket to avoid burns and smoke intake.
  • Pets should always have collars on with the relevant contact information in case they get lost or separated from their owners as they escape the burning building. 
  • Running pet-friendly fire drills can help all tenants be aware of the exit plan in case of a fire.

Using Fire Safety Stickers for Pets

Commercial real estate owners can place fire safety stickers for pets on every apartment window where a pet resides. This can better assist fire departments and emergency responders in locating pets in case of a fire.

Fires are frightening and devastating so it’s important to do everything possible to avoid and prepare for one. If you’re a commercial building owner or manager, now is an excellent time to review your property’s fire safety as well as educate tenants so everyone can work together to be better protected.



Established in 1998 and headquartered in Simi Valley, CA, AVANA CUSO is one of the most seasoned credit union service organizations (CUSO) focused on commercial real estate. We partner with credit unions and brokers to connect them to commercial investors across the United States. For decades, we have offered competitive and collaborative construction and commercial loans and uniquely support and guide our partners through the entire lifecycle of our loans. AVANA CUSO is a proud member of the AVANA Family of Companies.

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