DALZELL — Dalzell Fire Department is now better equipped to save a pet’s life during a house fire, thanks to the recent donation of two pet oxygen mask kits from Invisible Fence of the Quad Cities.
The donation was made possible through its Project Breathe program, which was established with the goal of equipping every fire station in America and Canada with pet oxygen masks. The masks allow firefighters and EMS staff to give oxygen to pets who are suffering from smoke inhalation when rescued from fires.
Dalzell Fire Chief Rich Croissant said the need for the oxygen masks doesn’t occur every day, but having them on hand better prepares his crew when responding to a house fire involving pets.
“We’re here to protect, and we do the best we can,” he said. “By having the masks, we’re better serving our community.”
Croissant said to get the masks, he had to request one from Invisible Fence, and his department ended up receiving two mask kits. One kit comes with three different-sized masks that fit various animals. The masks can fit dogs, cats, and even smaller household pets like rabbits, ferrets and birds.
According to an Invisible Fence press release, the organization has donated more than 18,200 pet oxygen masks to fire stations all over the U.S. and Canada through its Project Breathe program. A reported 170-plus pets have been saved by the donated masks, so far.
Invisible Fence Director Ed Hoyt said pets are valued family members, and they want families to know their pet can be cared for if tragedy strikes.
“We realize that humans are the first priority, but in many cases, pets can be saved if firefighters have the right equipment,” he said. “(The) Project Breathe program is simply a way of giving firefighters the tools necessary to save pets’ lives.”
Not every fire department around the area carries the pet masks, therefore Dalzell is a step above many in being better prepared when it comes to saving a one’s pet(s).
Other area fire departments can make a request for pet masks online at www.invisiblefence.com/O2.
Although the U.S. Fire Administration doesn’t keep official statistics, industry websites and sources have cited an estimated 40,000 to 150,000 pets die in fires each year, most succumbing to smoke inhalation, according to the Invisible Fence website.
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