First responders with Albertville Fire Department are now some of the best-equipped in the nation to save a pet’s life. That’s because Invisible Fence Co. of Minnesota has donated a pet oxygen mask kit to the Albertville Fire Department.
The donation is just a small part of Invisible Fence Brand’s “Project Breathe” program, which was established with the goal of equipping every fire station in America and Canada with pet oxygen masks. These masks allow firefighters to give oxygen to pets who are suffering from smoke inhalation when they are rescued from fires and often save pets’ lives.
Invisible Fence has donated a total of more than 11,500 pet oxygen masks to fire stations all over the U.S. and Canada throughout the life of the program. A reported 120+ pets have been saved by the donated masks so far, including a dog saved May 22 in Traverse City, Mich.
“When a family suffers the tragedy of a fire, lives are turned upside down,” said Ed Hoyt, Director of Invisible Fence Brand. “Pets are valued family members, so we want families to know that their pet can be cared for if tragedy strikes.”
The Albertville area is now joining the ranks of cities like Denver, Cleveland and Memphis, who have all received donated pet oxygen masks from Project Breathe program. Closer to home, Hopkins Fire Department received a donated set Tuesday, July 6.
Albertville Fire Chief Eric Bullen will accept the donation Thursday night at weekly training at the Albertville Fire Department. AFD also serves portions of Otsego and has a mutual aid agreement with St. Michael, meaning these two communities will also benefit from the masks.
“We realize that humans are the first-priority, but in many cases, pets can be saved if firefighters have the right equipment,” said Hoyt. “Project Breathe is simply a way of giving firefighters the tools necessary to save pets’ lives.”
Although the number of pets that die in fires is not an official statistic kept by the U.S. Fire Administration, industry web sites and sources have cited an estimated 40,000 to 150,000 pets die in fires each year, most succumbing to smoke inhalation. In most states, emergency responders are unequipped to deal with the crisis. The loss is terrible for the family, heart wrenching for firefighters.
“Thank God they had the masks. They (the dogs) are just like family. I don’t know what I’d do without them. Things can be replaced. Lives can’t, whether they’re animals or people.” Said a pet owner whose dogs were recently rescued using donated masks.
The company has set up a website, www.invisiblefence.com/O2, where local fire personnel can make a request for their own departments.
Invisible Fence Brand is the original electronic (in-ground) pet containment system and offers a comprehensive family of containment, avoidance, and access products to keep pets out of harm’s way and prevent unwanted behaviors throughout both the home and yard.