Sunday, August 29, 2010

Oxygen for animals

Area fire departments receive masks to help injured pets.
August 29, 2010 - By KATIE SCHWENDEMAN
The Review Online, OH



 Seven Southeastern Columbiana County fire departments are now equipped with pet oxygen mask kits, thanks to an outpouring of financial donations from compassionate community members.
With the exception of the Glenmoor Volunteer Fire Department, six fire departments now have pet oxygen mask kits for the first time.
Bill Bennett, Glenmoor firefighter, said the department has been equipped with the kits for three years, and has thankfully not needed to use them.
Departments with new kits are Dixonville and LaCroft, Calcutta, East Liverpool, and both paid and volunteer Wellsville departments.
The six departments started getting the kits earlier this year, mainly because of a situation that occurred in East Liverpool.
On April 28, a kennel fire occurred on Eutaw Street. Four dogs died in the blaze, but one dog was saved because of the quick thinking of East Liverpool firefighter Bob Smith, who used his own oxygen mask to resuscitate the ailing dog.
Bob Smith admitted he was afraid to put the mask on the dog at first because it was an 120-pound American Bulldog. He quickly fixed the mask on the dog's snout after he realized it didn't have enough energy to attack him even if it wanted to.
The dog was able to stand up nearly 20 minutes later, he said.
It was after the kennel fire that an East Liverpool Civil Service Commission member started looking into purchasing the pet oxygen kits for the department.
The commission member donated one set to the department and began requesting donations from city hall officials for additional sets.
The commission member, who did not wish to be named, said nearly $200 in donations were raised through the request and a total of four sets were donated to the city fire department.
A similar situation happened in Glenmoor in 2005, Bill Bennett said.
The department responded to a fire near Third and Cornell streets, and a dog was found that was struggling from smoke inhalation. A human oxygen mask was used to revive that dog as well, he said.
"(These kits) would have been a plus to use over a regular 02 mask, because it was a rather large dog," he said, adding that later the Telephone Pioneers of America donated kits to the department.
Since the donation, the department has not needed to use the masks, however.
"We've been lucky," he said.
At a June 28 township meeting, Liverpool Township Fire Chief Mike Bahen announced the department would start looking into purchasing the kits.
He said the department was receiving numerous calls from area residents wondering when the masks would be ordered.
Over time donations started pouring in for the kits.
"It got to be so overwhelming ... that's why I went ahead and got them for everybody," Bahen said, estimating that nearly $350 to $400 came in for the kits.
He also said he knew of a business in Calcutta that wanted the Calcutta department to have the kits, so he contacted Calcutta Fire Chief Scott Smith to let him know money was available for their purchase.
Scott Smith said an area woman already approached him about the kits because of what happened on Eutaw Street.
"She was interested in getting them for us because she has pets of her own," he said. "It shows people are interested in them when they are offering to try to raise donations to get them for you."
Bahen also contacted the Wellsville fire departments to let them know kits would be available.
Each pet oxygen mask kit comes with small, medium and large masks that can be used to revive dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, Guinea pigs and even birds. A set - with padded case included - costs $70, plus shipping.
Because a pharmacological license is required for their use, the kits are stored on fire engines and accompanying paramedics administer oxygen to animals when necessary.
Members of each department met at the East Liverpool Fire Station Thursday to show their appreciation for the donations.
Those each department wished to thank were, Telephone Pioneers of America, Gold Pond Pet Camp, of Calcutta, Farr Hill Mobile Home Park Inc., of Wellsville, and Elizabeth Bunnell, of East Liverpool, as well as others who did not wish to be named.
Kits were purchased from Wag'N Enterprises, LLC, of Virginia. According to a Wag'N Enterprises press release, the company was launched in 2008, and has since provided more than 125 fire departments in the US and Canada with the pet oxygen masks.
"We're quickly finding out just how great of a need this this," Ines de Pablo, Chief Wag'N Officer, said in the release. "We were shocked to find that most fire departments aren't equipped to save your pet's life in an emergency."
Purchase of the kits can be made through the company's Web site, www.wagn4u.com.
"A lot of people are very pet-oriented and they feel safer knowing the kits are available if something happens," Scott Smith said.

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