SOUTH ABINGTON TWP. — Some local first responders have new tools to help pets at the scene of residential fires.
Last week, emergency medical personnel with Chinchilla Hose Company and Newton Ransom Volunteer Fire Company each received sets of pet oxygen masks. The devices will allow first responders to deliver life-saving air to animals rescued from house fires.
About 40,000 pets die in house fires each year and about 500,000 are affected overall, according to the Journal of the American Veterinary Association. Most of those that perish succumb to smoke inhalation.
Emergency medical services received the masks through a donation by Invisible Fence of Northeast PA in Mountain Top. Each kit includes three masks of different sizes to accommodate cats and dogs of various sizes. The masks are bell-shaped and specially designed to fit over and form to the faces of animals.
The masks will help greatly in providing oxygen to animals who have suffered from smoke inhalation during a fire, said James Durden, emergency medical services lieutenant with Chinchilla Hose Company of South Abington Twp. Previously, crews had to perform a modified rescue breathing or make do with an oxygen mask designed for human faces, he said.
“We didn’t have anything forming over their snouts,” Durden said.
Crews from Olyphant Hose Co. Number 2 also received pet masks through Invisible Fence last week.
The company has distributed thousands of pet oxygen masks to fire stations across the United States and Canada through their Project Breathe program.
“We realize that humans are the first priority, but in many cases, pets can be saved if firefighters have the right equipment,” said Shawn Prohaska, owner of Invisible Fence of Northeast PA. “Project Breathe is simply a way of giving firefighters the tools necessary to save pets’ lives.”
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