Fire has followed me through my life, and not in a good way. When I was little I played with matches, set a sofa alight and was terrified of matches until I was about 25. My grandmother died in a fire when I was a teenager. My next-door neighbour set our apartment building alight in 2011, blowing our front door off…
So a couple of weeks ago when I heard an alarm and saw people running out of our building with their pets in their arms, I really panicked. We ended up with three fire engines, two police vans and two ambulances outside our apartment. I left the apartment to see what was going on and was not allowed back in, so our three cats were alone inside.
Turned out that someone had thrown something down the garbage chute which had caught alight and caused a fire in the chute, which meant smoke began billowing out of the garbage pipes on all seven floors.
The day that happened, I ordered one of these as soon as I was allowed inside, and it went on the door as soon as it arrived. It says ‘3 cats live here. Please save us from danger’. This means that if my husband and I are both out of the apartment and something happens, rescue services know to get the animals out. The little plaques can be customised to describe different constellations of animals.
I already carry this in my wallet, so I feel much more confident about leaving our animals now.