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Kelowna  

Oxygen masks for pets

Pets often become the victims of residential fires, as they sometimes hide in fear as their owners get out safely. 

Fire crews always make their best attempt to save our furry loved ones, but once outside, the lifesaving gear is not always available, until now.

The Okanagan chapter of the Canadian Disaster Animal Response Team (CDART) has bought and donated 40 animal oxygen mask kits for fire halls up and down the Okanagan, from Lake Country to Osoyoos.

On Tuesday the Kelowna Fire Department received their seven kits with open arms.

“We raised about $900 and were able to buy the kits from a non-profit organization in the States that had them manufactured for pet organizations like ours,” explains CDART Operation Section Chief Shari McDowell. “It is just really heartbreaking when they have to deal with an animal that could have survived but didn’t because there wasn’t oxygen available immediately.”

The kit comes with three different sized masks, all with the ability to effectively and safely give oxygen to everything from a kitten to a German Shepherd.

“Their snout goes into the oxygen mask and then you can actually feed them the right amount of oxygen without having to hover over with a child’s mask or do mouth-to-mouth,” explains McDowell. “So it is a fast way to save an animal’s life.”

Deputy Fire Chief Larry Hollier says the masks are crucial tools for their members who more often than not deal with pets in residential fires.

“Right now we will use a paediatric mask or an adult mask and try to make the seal the best we can, but nothing compares to these,” says Hollier. “They will be utilized definitely, anytime we come in contact with an animal in a structure fire.”

The Kelowna Fire Department received seven kits, which means there will be at least three kits at every fire.

The other 33 kits have already been distributed in the Okanagan.

Fortunately the masks have yet to be used in the Okanagan, but have been used effectively around North America in the past year.

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