Emergency preparedness, EP week, ontario SPCA, pet safety

House fire inspires friends to raise awareness about Emergency Preparedness

On December 8th, 2017, Ashley Klack’s fiancé received a call no pet owner wants to hear – the neighbouring unit to theirs was on fire, and their French Bulldog Charlotte was still in the house.

Emergency preparedness, EP week, ontario SPCA, pet safety
French Bulldog Charlotte.

Thankfully for Charlotte, Ashley’s neighbour was home and knew they had a dog. Once he confirmed with her fiancé that Charlotte was in the home, the neighbour informed the fire department, who were able to go into the home and retrieve the dog – unconscious, but alive. 

“The overall experience was very traumatic. You never imagine that something like that will happen,” says Ashley.

When Ashley’s friend Jessica Mathewson heard about the experience, she says she immediately thought of her own dog, and what would have happened if her home had been the one to catch on fire. 

“When all this happened, it was kind of a wake up call,” says Jessica.

Jessica had seen an Emergency Preparedness decal before, notifying emergency responders of pets in the home, but she didn’t currently have one so, she reached out the Ontario SPCA. Jessica requested not only a decal for herself  but decals to give out in the rest of her complex to raise awareness in case of a disaster.

ontario SPCA, house fire, EP week, emergency preparedness, pet safety
Jess Matthewson with her fiancé and dog, Molly.

Along with her fiancé, Jessica made envelops and enclosed a short version of Ashley’s story and a decal from the Ontario SPCA. She says they then distributed them door-to-door in their complex and handed them out to neighbours they knew. They promptly told Ashley about this resource and she also reached out to the Ontario SPCA.

In Ashley’s opinion, she says it’s crucial for pet owners to be prepared for emergency situations. She says she knows for them, Charlotte wouldn’t have stood a chance unless that neighbour had been home to notify the fire department.

“Having a decal on your door is a great first step in being prepared for an emergency and keeping your pet safe,” she says.

For more information or to get your own EP decal, visit: ontariospca.ca/ep.

May 10, 2018
by Emily Cook
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