By Michael P. Neufeld
Mountain Communities -Several pets have died from smoke inhalation during recent house fires.
But thanks to a gift of 149 pet oxygen mask kits, the loss of animals can possibly be greatly reduced. The EmmaZen Foundation — headed by Debra Jo Chiapuzio –donated the masks to San Bernardino County Fire and when the distribution is complete, every fire engine, ladder truck, ambulance, and squad will have a kit available in an emergency.
In 2010, ROTWNEWS reported Crest Forest Fire personnel resuscitated a family pet following a house fire in the 23000 block of Bowl Road in Crestline. A firefighter used a conventional human oxygen mask to save the small dog but the effectiveness of human masks don’t always do the best job.
Meanwhile, news media across the country have reported how the use of the pet masks have helped save animals. The cat that was resuscitated in Seattle, the dog and her four infant puppies that were saved in Cleveland and the dog in Shawnee, Oklahoma that was found under a bed and was revived after 45 minutes of oxygen.
The pet masks are designed with enough depth to fit over an animals nose and mouth, making the delivery of oxygen more effective. The pet masks have a rubber seal that creates a snug fit around the snout.
Each kit costs $75 and contains 3 different sizes of masks for pets of various sizes. The masks can be used to deliver oxygen or to provide rescue breathing while doing pet CPR.
San Bernardino County Fire’s news release indicates firefighters are not going to be responding to 911 calls that involve pet medical emergencies. They will also not reduce the priority of saving human lives.
“The masks will be utilized if, through the normal course of an emergency such as a fire in a home, the firefighters come across a pet that has succumbed to the smoke, is in need of care, and there is no other duty that would take precedence,” the release read.