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Rescue gear for pets – is your fire station equipped?

Last week I stopped by my local fire station.

I wanted to see if their trucks carry small oxygen masks specifically designed for dogs and cats. I was THRILLED to learn that all the stations in my district are equipped with masks in varying sizes for small animals.

According to Public Information Officer Steve McAdoo, the oxygen masks (also known as “snout masks”) went unused for 3 or 4 years, and then suddenly they were needed at several fires, resulting in the rescue of 5 pets.

Imagine if one of those lucky critters was yours!

I often wondered if the little signs many people (including me) have on their doors warning emergency crews about inside critters are helpful. While the signs can provide important information, Steve said there are other ways pet parents can help keep their critters safe in the event of a fire.

If you call 911 to report a fire be sure to tell them there are animals in the house! That info will be passed along to the fire crew as they’re on the way, and those oxygen masks will be ready to go.

According to Steve, one of the most important things you can do is keep your critters isolated in one room, with a closed door, as opposed to giving them the run of the house. A pet confined to one room can be found more easily, and that closed door could mean the difference between life and death.

This is especially true with cats. Steve said that, sadly, unless a cat gets out of the house on its own it often won’t survive a fire.

In case you’re curious, these pictures were taken in front of my home. You see, in addition to asking about critter safety I had voiced concerns about truck accessibility to my own home in the event of a fire.

Carol Evans put me in contact with Steve McAdoo, who passed along my concerns to Mike Carlsen and asked for a drive-by to check out my home.

I thought someone would pull up in a car…maybe a 4WD. Saturday afternoon I knew something was going on outside when my cats suddenly flew off the couch and scattered to their favorite hiding places.

I looked out the window and there was the fire truck and crew! They assured me they COULD make the 90 degree turn onto my funky little road in case of a fire.

These people are wonderful!

If you have any concerns about fire safety I urge you to contact your local fire station as I did. I know you’ll get all of your questions answered.
I can’t guarantee the fire truck will show up!

Chris Davis

Lighthearted Press

Publishing magical books for animal lovers


posted on January 16, 2012 Reply

Chris, I just wrote a press release about one of my customers, Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation, who along with Karen Sable of Pittsburgh Pet Emergency Trianing, has been donating a kit or two to local police, EMS and fire departments. It turns out that one of the reasons they often don’t have them is because they are not permitted to use public money for non-human related expenses.

Glad they can make it to your home, though!

Firefighter Dayna, Siren and Tango the Fire Safety Dogs
posted on January 16, 2012 Reply

What a wonderful post! Thank you so much for sharing! Siren the Fire Safety Dog will share this on his Facebook page!

Chris Davis
posted on January 16, 2012 Reply

Bernadette, I wonder how many other fire stations in the country don’t have pet rescue gear because they can’t use public funds? I also wonder if voters are aware of this. Wouldn’t it be heartbreaking to lose a beloved critter because the rescue crew didn’t have a a $30 mask?

Chris Davis
posted on January 16, 2012 Reply

Thanks very much, Dayna. I love the work you, Tango and Siren are doing to teach fire safety awareness to kids and their families.

posted on January 19, 2012 Reply

Great ideas! I’m going to check with our fire department right away. They have actually been out to my house a couple of times. Once for carbon monoxide and once for a gas leak. It’s nice to hear their opinions on the subject. Thanks!

Chris Davis
posted on January 19, 2012 Reply

Thanks, Andrea. I learned a lot from the firefighters about this issue. Sounds like you’ve already got a relationship with your fire department – glad they were there when you needed them!

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