Last summer the Bakersfield Fire Department pulled a lifeless dog from a burning home. But they had special pet oxygen masks on hand and were able to resuscitate the pet.
Cal Fire riverside County firefighter / paramedic Timothy Andazola says when they’re on the scene of an emergency, helping any life in danger is their priority, "We don’t just stop because you’re not a human being or because you have four legs and a tail."
Although there’s no official statistic, experts say, every year thousands of pets are affected by smoke inhalation and die. That’s why pet O2 kits are important.
"This mask in comparison to the human mask is a lot more elongated and there’s actually a rubber seal that will help us deliver more oxygen or a higher oxygen concentration versus a regular human mask which most of the oxygen will flow out because of the anatomy of the dog or cat," says Andazola.
But it’s not standard equipment and many fire departments can’t afford to have them at every station. If at all. That’s where the Emma Zen Foundation comes in. Their mission is to have the pet life saving kits on every fire rig.
Indio resident Dottie Metcalf held a Facebook fundraiser on her birthday. With the help of friends she raised enough money for 13 kits that needed replacing at Coachella Valley Cal Fire stations.
The firefighters are grateful.
"It’s a good feeling knowing that you don’t have to improvise you don’t have to try to make something up on the fly you have a tool that’s right for the right job," says Andazola.
And one day your pet might be grateful too.
Andazola says it’s important to always have an evacuation plan in place in case of a fire or emergency. And says it’s never a good idea to go back inside to get your pet once you’re out. He says often pets get out first and going back in for your pet can be deadly. The fire department has special gear to go inside and search for your pet.
Each kit costs about $75 and comes with three different size masks. If you want to do your own fundraiser, contact the Emma Zen Foundation.
You can also log on to their Facebook page: Emma Zen Facebook