A Dearing woman pulled into the Thomson-McDuffie County fire headquarters on Salem Road earlier this year seeking help for her pet dog that was in medical distress.
The firefighters and EMTs and paramedics attempted to assist the dog but they could not save the animal because they lacked proper animal lifesaving equipment.
“She was thrilled that we tried but we could not resuscitate the dog and it died,” said Battalion Chief Seth Key.
Kerry Fox was doing research on the computer and came across an organization that provides pet oxygen masks to first responders across the country and continent to help them save animals’ lives after a structure fire.
“She thought of us and how we could have used one of these that day to help her dog,” Key said.
On July 30, Fox donated $1,000 to Thomson-McDuffie Fire and EMS to purchase Pet Oxygen Masks kits from Wag’N O2 Fur Life. The public safety and education company, based in Vancouver, Washington, provides specially-designed lifesaving animal masks for pets that are pulled from burning buildings and suffering from smoke inhalation, and pets that need to be resuscitated after losing consciousness from exposure to toxic fumes. The masks may also be used on pets diagnosed with a condition requiring home oxygen treatments.
According to the company’s website, 68 percent of U.S. households own at least one pet, which equates to at least 84.6 million pets in possible danger from a home fire or catastrophe. Wag’N O2 Fur Life provides different size masks that can be used on dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds and many more animals.
“She funded enough so that we can have a Pet Oxygen Mask kit on every apparatus that we have,” Key said. A kit will be on every frontline vehicle—fire engines, rescue trucks and EMS units--working each day, which will make it seven that are ready to go at all times, he added.
“We were very happy to receive these masks because most of us here have pets,” Key said. “It was not a good feeling when we were not able to help that animal because we did not have the equipment. It is good to know that we now have that tool when we need it,” the battalion chief said. “It makes us feel better to have the masks to be able to help someone’s pet.”