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Company donates pet oxygen masks to fire department
Stafford County received a donation of 15 oxygen masks for pets in April 2012 as Katie Thisdell reported. Fredericksburg fire and rescue has had some since 2009. A community in Alabama recently got some as well. The trend of greater concern for pets and the view of them as family has increased demand for such devices.
By CASEY MUTCHLER
The Tuscaloosa News
NORTHPORT, Ala. (AP) — Pet owners can breathe a little easier following the donation of six animal-sized oxygen masks to the Northport Fire Department.
“To a lot of people, pets are their children, and what is important to them is important to us,” said fire Capt. Jason Norris, who on Monday demonstrated how the masks work with Milo, his Yorkshire terrier.
Haley Honeycutt, Norris’ fiancee and co-owner of Milo, said, “If there were a fire, first thing I would say is, ‘Forget the stuff and find my dog.’ “
Invisible Fence Brand, a Knoxville, Tenn.-based company, donated the pet oxygen kits to Northport Fire Rescue through its Project Breathe program. The kits are equipped with small, medium and large masks that can be used on cats or dogs suffering from smoke inhalation.
All vehicles at the Northport fire station will carry the kits.
Norris said that firefighters previously used oxygen masks designed for people when reviving pets at fires.
But he said those masks were not always well-suited for the different sizes of dogs and cats.
That led Northport Fire Rescue to contact Invisible Fence Brand.
Invisible Fence Brand’s Project Breathe has donated more than 10,000 masks to fire stations across the U.S. in an effort to save pets’ lives.
Specifically designed to fit the muzzle of animals, the masks are connected to a small oxygen tank, which releases pure oxygen to rid smoke toxins in the lungs.
An estimated 40,000 to 150,000 pets die each year in fires, most because of smoke inhalation. The oxygen masks will help conscious pets suffering from smoke inhalation, as well as pets that need to be resuscitated after losing consciousness from exposure to toxic fumes.
In New Jersey, Toms River County firefighters recently used the masks to save two cats and a German shepherd.
Georgia Welch, an Invisible Fence employee, said in a statement, “They (the animals) are clearly a part of the family.”
Welch said each set of three masks costs about $60. She said Project Breathe is on a mission to provide pet oxygen masks to every fire station throughout the United States and Canada.
You can also check out video on this story.
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