Firefighters gain lifesaving tools
Pet masks used to help furry family members.
Firefighters are expected to be ready to help at a moment’s notice. In the Ozark Fire Protection District, the effort to help extends to every member of a family affected by a house fire, even if the family member has four legs.
The Ozark Fire Protection District has an average of 40 house fires per year.
“It seems like every fire has a home with a pet,” Ozark Fire Capt. Andi Mooneyham said.
The fire protection district received two pet oxygen mask and resuscitation kits from Invisible Fence of Springfield. Firefighters got a firsthand lesson on how to help pets struggling to breathe after being in fires.
Invisible Fence of Springfield owner Cheryl Rust says the donation is part of a larger international effort called Project Breathe™.
“(Firefighters) are trying to save people’s lives and this is just an extension of that, trying to save a pet, a family member,” Rust said.
While most adults flee a burning home the moment a fire spreads out of control, pets instinctively stay inside.
“You may open a door, but a pet a lot of times will not go out. They go to their area of refuge,” Assistant Fire Chief Bill Arington explained.
“Pets are like kids, they like to hide,” Mooneyham said.
When firefighters find a pet alive in a burning house, the pet has usually suffered from smoke inhalation. Invisible Fence® Brand representatives showed Ozark firefighters how to use their new pet oxygen mask kits with a live demonstration at Fire Station No. 1. Each kit contains three masks for dogs and cats of all sizes.
Invisible Fence of Springfield received 10 kits this year as part of Project Breathe™. The Ozark Fire Protection District is the first in the Springfield metro area to receive the kits.
“I think it’s fabulous that Ozark was progressive enough to really go an extra mile and contact us and get this going,” Rust said.
Ozark firefighters will carry the new pet oxygen masks on their “first out” brush trucks, which are used for all medical and animal rescue calls.