Pets are an important part of any family. Should a house fire or other disaster happen, East Pierce Fire & Rescue is now even more prepared to rescue furry members of the family.
Firefighters now have access to specially designed oxygen masks that could help save pets suffering smoke inhalation after being rescued from a fire.
Invisible Fence of Seattle, an electronic pet containment company, has donated more than 12,400 pet masks to fire departments. The company donated six mask kits to East Pierce Fire & Rescue as part of its Project Breathe program, with the goal of equipping every fire department in America and Canada with pet oxygen masks.
The masks are specially designed to fit over the animal’s snout to provide a steady flow of oxygen to the animal, said Bud Backer, East Pierce Fire & Rescue chief.
“There’s three different sizes of masks in each kit,” he said. “They gave us six different kits to put on six engines through out the district.”
Firefighters have started training with the masks, which are similar to the human oxygen masks.
“We want to ensure we do everything we can to save that member of the family,” Backer said. “Now we have a better chance of saving the animal.”
Backer says when families find out their pet was lost — in addition to their home — they take it pretty hard. When a pet is saved, however, it softens the loss of losing their home.
“When we’ve rescued a pet when the house is a total loss, the pet made them ecstatic,” Backer said. “They’re tickled pink they got their pet back.”
The masks have been placed on the six engines through Bonney Lake, Sumner, Tehaleh, Lake Tapps, South Prairie, Edgewood and the Ridge communities.
“When a family suffers the tragedy of a fire, lives are turned upside down,” Ed Hoyt, director of Invisible Fence Brand, said in a release. “Pets are valued family members, so we want families to know that their pet can be cared for if tragedy strikes.”