Child kisses the dog in nose on the window.

There's nothing like a tragedy to make you reevaluate your approach and look at everything with a new perspective.

This past Saturday, a pet boarding facility in Georgetown, Texas, caught fire overnight and left 75 dogs dead. A devastating blow not just to the families who suddenly lost their furry family members, but to our industry as a whole.

In a press conference, the local police chief explained that further investigation would be needed, and that there were no fire alarms or sprinkler systems in place, to their knowledge. This introduces some interesting questions: Why were the 75 dogs alone, overnight in a pet boarding facility? Were there any fire safety measures in place? Was there anything that could have been done to prevent the fire—or at least give the dogs a better chance of survival? Since the dogs most likely passed away due to smoke inhalation, how is the overall air quality in the boarding facility?

Now, sprinklers were not required by law in a business of that size, and the company's website made it clear that there were no overnight employees. In the wake of this incident, people are focusing on and working to improve local fire codes. 

This should be a wake up call for every pet business owner. Do your fire alarms have batteries? Can your displays fall over and potentially injure a pet? If you’re a groomer, are tools kept far enough away from pets? This should be something top of mind each and every day a customer or client comes in and out of your business.

A pet owner chooses you and your business to ensure that their pet is safe and well cared for. It’s a promise all pet businesses set out to make—to better the lives of pets. It’s everything for your business, and our industry as a whole, to live up to that promise. Without trust, what value does the industry provide for customers? 

So, how are people and pets protected in your business in case of an emergency situation? You should be able to answer that right now. If you can’t, it’s time to come up with a plan.