BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – The Beckley Fire Department has just been granted a donation of pet oxygen masks.
Unfortunately, many pets die from smoke inhalation in house fires every year due to fire stations not being properly equipped to deal with animals. But now, through a donation program known as Project Breathe, this no longer has to be a local concern.
“A lot of times we do everything we can just to save human lives, but the equipment we have doesn’t necessarily work well on animals, so these masks will help us, help the pets, and maybe save somebody’s pet’s life,” says a lieutenant with the Beckley Fire Department, Chris Graham.
“I’ve been on house fires before where we’ve tried to save an animal, sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t, but with the right tools maybe it will work out better,” he adds.
The program, created by the Invisible Fence Brand, has already donated over 25,000 of these masks and has saved the lives of at least 201 pets.
A Beckley Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) instructor and K9 handler with the Beckley Fire Department, Jerry Johnson developed the inspiration to get the masks after doing pet first aid training.
“I love my dogs, and I love all dogs, and I just want the community of Beckley to have something that they know their pets can be safe,” Johnson says.
The fire department was given a kit with an assortment of different-sized masks. The cone-shaped masks are specially designed to fit the muzzles and snouts of dogs, cats, and other household pets.
And Tasha, a loyal member of the fire department’s K9 unit was the lucky dog that got to be the first to try on the new mask.