Pet O2 mask, as it would be used on a pet the pet is rescued from a fire. (Photo provided).
Stillwater - Forty-thousand pets per year die from lack of oxygen due to house fires, and emergency crews are unable to help unless they have special masks that fit house pets. Members of the Stillwater Emergency Rescue Squad know that pets are part of the family. That’s why the squad carries pet oxygen masks on its ambulances, knowing they can help save family pets suffering due to home fires and other emergencies. Those masks have been used multiple times, according to SERS Captain Shannon Bodensieck, including to resuscitate a dog and two cats rescued from a home fire last winter. So when the squad needed replacements, Bodensieck reached out to pet services provider Canine Company, which made the original donation in 2015, asking if it was possible to purchase some. The company responded by donating two more sets of masks to the squad – at no cost – to ensure that each ambulance is equipped with the life-saving tool. “Our company mission is to keep pets healthy, safe and happy,” says Renee Coughlin of Canine Company. “We do that with our products and services, and with our pet masks donation campaign. Over the past 10 years, we’ve provided masks to more than 500 fire departments and rescue squads in the communities where we do business. We want to be sure every pet has the best chance to survive in an emergency.” Family pets are at special risk during a home fire because they cannot to leave the house without help. An estimated 40,000 die each year nationwide from smoke inhalation. Human oxygen masks do not fit the shape of most pets’ snouts, making it difficult for first responders to provide life-saving oxygen on scene. The donated masks are designed for the shape of an animal’s snout. Each set includes masks in three sizes to fit a wide range of pets – from small mammals like rabbits to giant breed dogs. To ensure rescuers know there are pets in a home, Canine Company also provided free “Pets Inside” decals to SERS for distribution to local pet parents. The stickers also can be requested by mail through the Request a Decal form on the company’s website. Canine Company helps families across New England, New York and New Jersey keep their pets healthy, safe and happy at home with services like Invisible Fence pet containment systems and Manners dog obedience training. For more information, visit www.caninecompany.com.