New airway establishedIt's not often that Red Wing firefighters are called on to save pets. When they are, the success rate hovers around the zero mark, Chief Tom Schneider said. But he and others are hopeful that a recent donation to the department could boost hopes for survival when pets are caught in house fires.
By: Mike Longaecker, The Republican Eagle
It's not often that Red Wing firefighters are called on to save pets.
When they are, the success rate hovers around the zero mark, Chief Tom Schneider said.
But he and others are hopeful that a recent donation to the department could boost hopes for survival when pets are caught in house fires.
"With the right tools, it improves our chances," Schneider said.
The department on Tuesday received animal oxygen-mask kits that can be fitted securely over dog or cat muzzles.
In the past, Red Wing firefighters have had to improvise, using oxygen masks designed to seal against the human face. The new units can provide fresh air or oxygen to fit snugly around a pet's muzzle.
According to a press release from Invisible Fence, the company that donated the equipment, some 40,000 pets die in fires each year, most of them succumbing to smoke inhalation.
"Everyone I've talked to has been through it," Invisible Fence representative Brad Bell said. "They just don't have the necessary equipment to do it."
Red Wing was the first southern Minnesota department to receive the equipment, Bell said. Departments in Northfield and Faribault also are interested in the devices.
Though appreciative of the donation, Schneider wants to make one thing clear: The $60 apparatus does not transform the department into a pet ambulance service. Firefighters only plan on using the equipment at structure fires where pets happen to be present.
Bluffs Pet Clinic veterinarian Dr. Darlene Cook, who was on hand Tuesday to train firefighters in pet resuscitation techniques, said people should call vet clinics for pet emergencies.
She expected the masks to make a difference at fire calls involving pets.
"I think this is an awesome thing to have in the field," Cook said of the new oxygen masks. "This has the potential to save many pets' lives."