The Aiken Horse and Dog & Hound newspapers recently purchased two sets of pet oxygen masks to donate to the New Holland Fire Station. The masks are specially designed to fit over an animal’s muzzle to deliver oxygen in an efficient and effective manner. These masks, which come in three sizes, can be used on dogs, cats, ferrets and even birds and guinea pigs. They can help firefighters and first responders save the lives of animals suffering from smoke inhalation and respiratory distress after being in a fire. Human oxygen masks can work on pets, but those that have been specifically designed for an animal’s face work much better.
Pet oxygen masks have been distributed in the United States for about 6 years, but they are not yet standard equipment at most fire stations and in most first responder vehicles. Many fire stations across the country are on tight budgets, and equipment designed to save human lives always has precedence when it comes to scarce resources. While some fire companies can afford to buy their own pet oxygen masks, many others rely on donations from interested citizens and organizations.
Pet oxygen mask sets are relatively inexpensive and, unlike human masks, are reusable. They are available from a couple of different sources. The Aiken Horse got theirs from Waggin O2 Fur Life (www.petoxygenmasks.org). This company offers a number of ways to supply your local fire station with life-saving equipment. One way is simply to buy the masks directly from the Waggin 02 Fur Life website and have them shipped directly to the firehouse. Another way is to go on the website and make a donation to help sponsor a fire station that has registered to get a set of masks. Another way is to register your own fire station for a fellowship program, which will make it possible for you to enlist your friends and neighbors to make their own donations.
Pet oxygen mask sets from Waggin 02 Fur Life cost $75 apiece. They come with a comprehensive video explaining how they are used, as well as with a bright orange emergency leash that can be used as a muzzle if the need arises. If you are interested in buying some for your fire department, check in with them first to make sure they need the donation. If your fire station already has pet oxygen masks, consider donating to help another station get some. “Because the pet’s life you save may be your own.”