STOW, Ohio - There is no question that being equipped with oxygen masks is a necessity when fighting a fire. They are needed not only to help the firemen breathe, but to also to help anyone that may have been trapped in a fire. Smoke inhalation can kill as much as the fire itself.
That is why all fire departments are equipped with oxygen masks. Twelve local fire departments are about to obtain another tool: special oxygen masks for dogs and cats are being donated by the makers of Invisible Fence.
An estimated 40,000 to 150,000 pets die in fires every year. Most emergency responders are not properly equipped or trained to help these animals in an emergency.
The kits contain different sized masks.The smallest can be used for kittens and puppies. The largest can be used on farm animals.
Project Breathe is trying to equip fire stations across the United States and Canada with the special animal oxygen masks.
"These are specifically designed for pets to fit over the snout. We can save anything from a snake to a gerbil, to a puppy" said Jennifer Cutrone, a representative with Invisible Fence.
Locally, a special training session was held at the Stow Fire Department. Other fire departments attending included Ravenna, Streetsboro, Bath, Munroe Falls, Twinsburg, Atwater, Edinburg Township, Valley Fire District, Mantua-Shalersville, Kent, and the Tallmadge Fire Department. Each department received at least one kit.
"We go out on calls all the time and we do take care of the pets that are in the house" said Rick Hohenadel, Captain of the Stow Fire Department. "We'll do whatever we can, but we cannot risk a firefighters life".
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