Saanich Peninsula fire departments are now well prepared to assist the furred, feathered and four-legged in the event of a fire.
Thanks to a donation from the North Saanich Dog Obedience Training Club (NOSA), each department now has three sizes of oxygen resuscitation masks specially designed to fit pets — from birds, reptiles and rodents to rabbits, dogs, cats and even alpacas.
Much the same for humans, oxygen is administered in the event of smoke inhalation, toxic fume exposure or heat exhaustion.
Before NOSA’s donation, fire departments had to treat pets with the larger oxygen masks meant for humans.
The idea for the donation came after one of the members of the North Saanich Dog Obedience Training Club spotted a local newspaper story last summer about pet-sized oxygen resuscitation masks.
“It’s important that we support the fire departments. When we’re running out of burning buildings, they’re running in,” said Rod Deacon, president of the club. “Their motto on the truck is ‘our family protecting your family,’ and our pets are our family.”
All three fire chiefs were grateful for the donation.
“From personal experience, this equipment will be greatly appreciated,” said Central Saanich fire chief Ron French in a statement.
“While our members never hesitate to assist an animal in distress, this donation means that we now have the proper equipment to save a pet’s life during an emergency,” added Sidney fire chief Brett Mikkelsen.
“The community groups supporting the fire departments like this is a good thing,” said Gary Wilton, chief for North Saanich.
“We certainly appreciate it, and hopefully we never have to use them.”
The Victoria and Richmond fire departments already use the pet oxygen masks in their communities, and the U.S. supplier, Wag’N O2 Fur Life, has sold more than 6,300 kits to 3,000 fire and rescue departments in North America.