Hertfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service will start to carry specialist pet oxygen masks on its fire engines, thanks to generous donations from animal lovers.
The masks, provided by a charity called Smokey Paws and paid for by donations, are part of a kit specially tailored for cats, dogs and other small household pets.
Costing £90 each, the kits consist of three pet-sized oxygen masks that can be used for a variety of animals. They also include oxygen tubes, muzzles and a slip lead in case an animal becomes agitated while being rescued.
They range in size to fit small pets such as hamsters, snakes, dogs and cats and larger animals such as sheep and horses, and are design to fit snugly around the snout of animals to ensure a better flow of oxygen.
Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service has taken delivery of three kits, with more on the way, however Smokey Paws will need to raise more money to be able to provide a kit for every fire engine.
Terry Hone, Cabinet Member for Community Safety at Hertfordshire County Council, said: ““I’m delighted that we are starting to carry pet oxygen masks on our fire engines. People understandably view their pets as part of the family and these kits will make a big difference to our crews’ ability to save animals caught up in fires.
“We are very grateful to the people and organisations who have helped raise the money for Smokey Paws to provide these kits. It would be wonderful to be able to carry one of these kits on every fire station.”
Smokey Paws is a not-for-profit organisation that provides the animal-friendly first aid masks to fire services across the UK and relies on donations and fundraising from individuals and organisations.
Brian Lockyer from Smokey Paws said: “With 46 per cent of UK households having pets and over 40,000 house fires a year in the UK, pets can tragically often become the victims of smoke inhalation and poisoning. If oxygen is available at the scene, it should be provided to the pet.
“Specially designed pet oxygen masks are more effective on pets than the human masks often used to try and revive pets by first responders. Our mission is to equip every fire engine in the UK with these life-saving pet oxygen masks.”
If you would like to find out more about Smokey Paws’ pet life-saving mission, or if you can help raise funds and awareness in the Hertfordshire area, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information can also be found at www.smokeypaws.co.uk and www.facebook.com/helpsmokeypaws