Friday, June 11, 2010

Fire departments receive oxygen masks for pets

Published Friday June 11th, 2010 

The New Brunswick Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has donated several pet oxygen mask kits to three Fredericton area fire departments.
 Fire departments in Fredericton, Nackawic and Kingsclear are now equipped with pet oxygen mask kits. The specialized equipment was presented as part of the New Brunswick SPCA Fur Safety campaign. From left are New Brunswick Fire Marshal Ben Laroche, Fredericton Deputy Chief Paul Fleming, donor Linda Gould McDonald, Nackawic Fire Chief William Hopkins, Murray Crouse of the Upper Kingsclear department and NBSPCA Chief Animal Protection Officer Paul Melanson. In front is arson detection officer Mark Nowlan and his canine partner, Mallow.
The kits contain three cone-shaped masks that can fit animals as small as a guinea pig to as large as a St. Bernard dog. The gear is designed to deliver oxygen to animals that have been affected by fires, traffic collisions and other emergencies. The kits cost approximately $100 a piece and are already stationed in a total of 23 fire departments in New Brunswick.
The kits were given to the Fredericton, Nackawic and Upper Kingsclear fire departments.
Vanessa Packman, fur safety co-ordinator, said the NBSPCA would like to see at least one kit per New Brunswick fire department.
"These are specialized masks," she said. "Human oxygen masks are flat, so they don't fit the faces of animals. These masks are cone shaped and come in different sizes so that they can fit over the animal's muzzle without having the oxygen escape."
Approximately two thirds of homes in New Brunswick have pets, Packman said. "Pets are often seen as family members, so it's important to be able to help every member of that family."
Paul Fleming, assistant deputy fire chief, said the pet oxygen masks are a great addition to have on the trucks.
"It's great! A lot of people's pets are as close to them as children and it's horrible when there is a fire. People become so distressed because that's a loved one that's in there. Our job is to protect that family and the pets are part of that family."
"These masks are important because a pet can't tell you how they are feeling or what they need. People don't tend to realize these pets are stuck in that fire as well, breathing in all that smoke and they need the oxygen."
Fleming said that the Fredericton departments had been looking into the kits. "These are really important and definitely a great addition to have on board of the trucks. I hope that more departments will be able to purchase them in the future."

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