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Saving the life of local pets

NFD utilizes pet oxygen masks at recent fires

When on the scene of a fire, the Nicholasville Fire Department does not only help save the lives of residents but also their pets.
“We have had eight masks donated to us by the Animal Hospital of Nicholasville and Bluegrass Invisible Fence,” Chief Mark Case said. “This gives us the ability to provide life-saving measures to the animals in our community.”
The masks are supplied by Wag’N O2 Fur Life, a company who provides pet oxygen masks with three goals in mind: First, place one oxygen mask in every fire or EMS department in Northern America; second, place one mask in every vehicle; three, sustain the program through training and awareness.
According to Wag’N O2 Fur Life’s website, 68 percent of households in the United States own at least one family pet which equals about 84.6 million pets throughout America. The company has now supplied 13,000 pet oxygen masks kits to more than 5,250 fire and EMS departments and estimates up to 10,500 fire departments and 2,700 EMS vehicles now have a mask on board.
To date, Case said the department has used the masks on seven animals at local fires. Currently, each engine has one mask kit on board and the department has two masks in reserve. Ideally, Case said they would like to have two masks on each engine in the case of a call to a fire where there were several pets involved or to replace the ones they currently have in use if something were to happen to them.
During two recent fires, the Nicholasville Fire Department had to use the masks on several animals which were affected by smoke inhalation.
“The mask kits have different sizes, and they come in small, medium and large,” Case said. “These kits are a blessing to our department, as many citizens don’t have family members they just have their pets. With the mask, when an emergency happens, not only are we capable of providing medical care and attention to the humans, but also to their pets.”
The NFD has completed hands-on training with the masks and watched a video tutorial which comes with the mask when it is purchased.
For animals who are in respiratory distress, the masks help by concentrating the oxygen in a small area around its nose and mouth so they can better take in the oxygen when needed.
“Pets can feel the same effects as humans as far as smoke inhalation and oxygen deprivation,” Case said. “Most people today think of their pets as their children and need the same care as we would expect to give ourselves.”