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South King Fire gets donated oxygen masks to save pets from fire
First responders from South King Fire and Rescue are now some of the best-equipped in the nation to save a pet’s life. That’s because Invisible Fence Northwest has donated three oxygen mask kits to the fire department.
This donation is just a small part of Invisible Fence Brand’s Project Breathe program, which was established with the goal of equipping every fire station in America and Canada with pet oxygen masks. These masks allow firefighters to give oxygen to pets who are suffering from smoke inhalation when they are rescued from fires and often save pets’ lives.
Invisible Fence has donated a total of more than 10,000 pet oxygen masks to fire stations all over the U.S. and Canada throughout the life of the program. A reported 120-plus pets have been saved by the donated masks so far, including a dog saved on May 25 in Akron, Ohio.
“When a family suffers the tragedy of a fire, lives are turned upside down,” said Albert Lee, director of Invisible Fence. “Pets are valued family members, so we want families to know that their pet can be cared for if tragedy strikes.”
“We realize that humans are the first-priority, but in many cases, pets can be saved if firefighters have the right equipment,” said Lee.
Federal Way area is now joining the ranks of cities like Denver, Chicago and Memphis, who have all received donated pet oxygen masks from the program.
“Thank God they had the masks. They (the dogs) are just like family. I don’t know what I’d do without them. Things can be replaced. Lives can’t, whether they’re animals or people,” said a pet owner whose dogs were recently rescued using donated masks.
Although the number of pets that die in fires in not an official statistic kept by the U.S. Fire Administration, industry websites and sources have cited an estimated 40,000 to 150,000 pets die in fires each year, most succumbing to smoke inhalation. In most states, emergency responders are unequipped to deal with the crisis. The loss is terrible for the family, heart wrenching for firefighters.
“These masks truly are blessings for the Federal Way area,” said Lt. Jeff Bellinghausen. “We’ve seen residents run back into burning homes to save a pet. It’s understandable, but extremely dangerous. These masks will give residents comfort in knowing that we can save their pets if they are suffering from smoke inhalation.”
The company has set up a website, www.invisiblefence.com/O2, where people or companies can support the effort.