Seattle Firefighters Use Special Masks for Pets

 |  Oct 28th 2006  |   0 Contributions

Angus the Warrior

Thanks to Angus the Warrior for barking in this article from SeattlePI!

Angus the Warrior wrote:
Dad found this great story. We thought other dogsters might enjoy
reading about what the Seattle firefighters are doing to help save pets.

Woo! Woo!

Seattle firefighters will use oxygen masks made for pets


His eyes darting about nervously, Ailbe, a 7-year-old dog with a shaggy coat, kept still as he patiently modeled the most recent effort by humans to help his brethren in trouble -- an oxygen mask designed for snouts.

"I've been to enough house fires where people are crying for us to save their pets," Seattle firefighter Jennifer Bessler said. "This just gives us one more tool to help out a pet that's maybe been in too long."

Seattle firefighters trying out pet masks.bmp

Though it hasn't begun using them, yet, the Seattle Fire Department bought five sets of respirator masks for animals for $530. They come in small, medium and large.

Once the protocols for using the masks are worked out, each of the city's five battalion chiefs will carry a set in his rig, making sure they are available at every reported fire.

About 18 months ago, Bessler suggested that the department buy the masks after hearing a story on National Public Radio about their use in California.

Using Ailbe as a guinea pig on Wednesday, Bessler tested a mask's fit on his fuzzy little snout. And although Ailbe seemed a bit uncomfortable, most pets who need the masks would most likely be unconscious or groggy.

The key to these masks is their conical shape and rubber seals. Firefighters are often asked to save family pets, sometimes resorting to actual mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, other times using the masks designed for human faces.

Bessler went on one such call when she was a firefighter on Vashon Island, and the crew rescued dogs from a house fire. They succeeded in saving the animals, but struggled to fit the flatter human masks around the muzzles.

"We did the best we could," she said.

But in recent years, more fire departments across the country have been adopting equipment designed specifically for snouts or even beaks.

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