Oxygen Masks Can Save Pets Too
The Post and Courier - Sunday, October 11, 2009
Congratulations to Dave Munday for his article regarding pet oxygen masks in the Oct. 6 issue of The Post and Courier. One of the responsibilities of the media is to inform the public about topics like this one that could impact their lives or the lives of the ones they love.
Pets have been saved from fires with the use of pet oxygen masks. Being quite dismayed to learn that the city of Charleston has no pet oxygen masks, I placed a call to a very helpful and kind Mark Ruppel, public information officer for the city of Charleston Fire Department.
With its approval, I am on a mission to provide the department with as many pet oxygen masks as needed. Once the city of Charleston departments have been outfitted, I hope to distribute these life-saving tools to other departments in need.
Pet oxygen mask kits include three masks (one small, one medium and one large) and are available for as little as $85 -- a small price to pay for saving a beloved member of your family. More than 500,000 pets are affected by fires each year and over 40,000 pets each year die of smoke asphyxiation.
I am asking for donations from anyone -- particularly those who have a pet and/or who love animals. The pet saved by an oxygen mask could be yours. Please help by sending donations, any amount you can afford, to:
Oxygen Masks for Pets, First Federal of Charleston, 1995 Magwood Road, Charleston, S.C., 29414.
This is the newspaper article that started me on my mission.
Below that, the editorial I wrote:
Firefighters Will Begin Using Pet Oxygen Masks
By Dave Munday, The Post and Courier
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Photo by Alan Hawes
GOOSE CREEK -- The Goose Creek Fire Department is the latest agency to begin using special oxygen masks for animals trapped in house fires.
Goose Creek firefighter Chad Hartman holds one of the department's new animal oxygen masks (left) next to an adult human mask. The department carries several different sizes of masks depending on the size of the animal rescued.
"They provide a better seal," Capt. Todd Pruitt said. They come in three sizes. The smallest can handle little dogs, cats or even ferrets.
Mount Pleasant and North Charleston started using them last year, followed by James Island, St. Andrews and Hollywood. Goose Creek got the masks in September. Those who use them say the masks fit better than devices designed for people.
"These are really great because they get the oxygen right to their little snouts," said Bianca Sancic, fire and life safety educator with the North Charleston Fire Department.
Each set costs about $65 wholesale. None of the local fire departments has spent any tax money on them. All have been donated. The masks were designed for veterinarians. Mount Pleasant was the first local fire department to start using them. Invisible Fence of Coastal Carolinas gave the department six sets last year.
Mount Pleasant Fire Chief Herb Williams is enthusiastic about them. A month after getting the new pet masks, firefighters used one to revive a dog pulled out of a fire in the I'On neighborhood. "There's no comparison," Williams said. "We personally prefer the ones designed for an animal. They fit better."
As a result of calls from a story about the Mount Pleasant Fire Department, Invisible Fence also bought masks for the James Island, St. Andrews and Hollywood fire departments, donation coordinator Lisa Swayne Proud said.
Unfortunately, Proud said, Invisible Fence can't buy pet masks for all the local fire departments. "We would like to keep all pets safe, but our marketing budget keeps getting cut," she said.
The Animal Hospital of North Charleston gave the North Charleston Fire Department a set shortly after the story about Mount Pleasant, Sancic said. The Charleston Fire Department still uses regular oxygen masks to revive pets trapped in fires but is willing to use the pet masks if somebody donated them, Fire Chief Thomas Carr said. "Certainly I would be interested in them," Carr said. "I've not had an opportunity to see the difference in application. Anything that can help take care of an animal better is important." Charleston firefighters even have given dogs mouth-to-mouth resuscitation trying to save them. "They're very passionate about doing the right thing," he said. "We should make sure we're providing the technology to support that. We would love it if somebody would come forward (with a donation). If it could save an animal's life, we're certainly willing to use them."
My Editorial -my Mission, & the reason for this Website:
"The Pet's Life Saved May Be Your Own"
NOTE: The First Federal Address on the editorial was a temporary one until this website was created. While they still handle the account, they prefer that donations come to me or go through my website. To donate, please go to the Donate Page. Thank You!
Nala, a Golden Retriever, participates in a demonstration of how firefighers can use an oxygen recovery mask that hat will revive a pet suffering from smoke inhalation.
Photo by Grace Beahm