Richmond has as high population of pets – 5,119 licensed dogs and many more cats and unlicensed dogs, according to Bylaw Services. Many times in the critical moments of a fire, pets instinctively look for a hiding place rather than run from the fire. With Richmond Fire-Rescue’s new pet oxygen mask kits, there is now dedicated equipment to help saves the lives of our beloved pets.
“Losing a pet due to a house fire can be a devastating experience. We know that pets are an extension of a family and sometimes the only companions for some people,” says Richmond Fire-Rescue Deputy Chief Tim Wilkinson. “Far too many pets die from smoke asphyxiation and we are pleased to have the pet oxygen masks on the trucks and available for use when necessary.”
These specially designed animal masks can be used both on conscious pets that have suffered from smoke inhalation and pets that need to be resuscitated after losing consciousness from toxic fumes. There are likely hundreds more pets in the city that could benefit from this great first aid product.
Richmond Fire-Rescue has just placed two of the Wag’N Pet Oxygen Mask Kits into service on first-response rescue trucks. The carry bag kits include oxygen masks (one small, one medium, one large), laminated CPR instructions for cats and dogs, a kennel lead for animal control, animal incident report forms and pet rescue notice forms.
Thanks to the generous support from Invisible Fence and Burquitlam Animal Hospital, Richmond Fire-Rescue was able to assemble the invaluable pet kits to assist in first aid to local pets in trauma.
An example of why these kits are valuable is recently (June 2014), Richmond Fire-Rescue responded to a fire and subsequently pulled an unconscious cat from the smoky environment. Oxygen was administered to the feline and the cat responded and came back to life. Richmond Animal Protection Society, which responded to the call, was also invaluable with their feedback and suggestions about what would be helpful in a kit.