Group donates fire station gear that could be a real pet-saver

Group donates oxygen masks designed for animals to several stations in South Sound

lpemberton@theolympian.comDecember 12, 2013 

South Sound critters will have a better chance at life after a fire or other emergency thanks to a donation of 19 animal rescue oxygen mask kits for several fire districts.

Invisible Fence Northwest donated the devices to West Thurston Regional Fire Authority, Southeast Thurston Fire Authority, Thurston County Fire District and East Olympia Fire. Crews demonstrated the masks during a media event Wednesday at the Littlerock Fire Station.

“Smoke inhalation is really the big killer for our pets,” said Lt. Lanette Dyer, an Emergency Medical Services officer with West Thurston. “We all know they’re like family to us.”

The donation was part of a national effort known as Project Breathe, which has provided more than 2,000 animal oxygen masks across the country, according to Georgia Welch, with Invisible Fence.

“The goal is to get masks in every first responder vehicle,” she said.

Olympia resident Donna Snow said she learned of the program after seeing some news coverage of pets that were rescued with the devices. She passed information she’d found on Project Breathe to Dyer who “just took the ball and ran with it,” Snow said.

“I was just thrilled,” Snow said of the donations. “This is like an early Christmas to me to see this.”

Each kit is valued at about $60 and includes three different sizes of masks, Welch said.

Several canine companions were at the fire station to demonstrate the devices. But the masks aren’t just for the dogs, according to Welch.

“They can also be used for birds, snakes, gerbils, that kind of thing,” she said.

Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433 @Lisa_Pemberton

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