The Edmond Sun

February 17, 2014

Fire Department now carries pet oxygen masks in trucks

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — If you have a dog or a cat and if Fido or Fifi ever suffers from smoke inhalation due to a structure fire, Edmond firefighters have a new specialized tool at their disposal.

Americans are clearly fond of pets. In the U.S., pet ownership has more than tripled from the 1970s, when about 67 million households had pets to 2012, when there were 164 million households owned pets — 62 percent — of American households, according to the latest statistics from the Humane Society of the United States. An average of 1.47 dogs and 2.11 cats are owned per household.

Brian Davis, the Edmond Fire Department’s emergency medical services director, said in order to give our furry family members a second chance if they suffer from smoke inhalation during a structure fire, the Edmond Fire Department bought $65 pet oxygen mask kits from SurgiVet.

According to the manufacturer, the masks, used by veterinary facilities, emergency referral clinics and first responders, are designed to provide supplemental oxygen to animals suffering from respiratory distress, smoke inhalation or for general recovery from anesthesia.

Edmond personnel only will be using them for pets needing help at structure fire scenes, Davis said. Other emergencies will continue to be handled through regular veterinarian care.

The kits come with three sizes of masks — large and small for dogs and small for cats. Flexible material in the mask allows for some size variation.

Davis said the agency received the kits a couple of weeks ago, and they are being carried on all front-line Fire Department vehicles. Davis said he would not be surprised if the agency uses a kit at a structure fire scene during the next couple of weeks.

Edmond Animal Welfare Supervisor Nicki Smith, a former captain with the Edmond Police Department, said due to being married to a city firefighter she has known that responders occasionally encounter pets during structure fire calls.

Smith said the kits give personnel another tool to use and they give animals who might otherwise not survive a second chance. | 341-2121, ext. 108