House fires are devastating and life-threatening for everyone in the family – including the pets. It’s estimated that half a million pets are affected by fires each year and more than 40,000 die from smoke inhalation. Emergency first responders can provide oxygen to a fading animal, but they usually face the challenge of working with a human oxygen mask, which is difficult to securely fit over a dog or cat’s face.
Last fall, Bark Buckle UP®, a national organization dedicated to pet travel safety, teamed up with Smiths Medical, distributor of veterinary medical devices, to launch Bark 10-4™, a national campaign designed to equip every fire truck across the United States with a pet oxygen mask.
While veterinarians have used animal-specific oxygen masks for years, they have only recently begun to find their way into the hands of rescue personnel. Due to budget constraints, those that do exist are usually donated by compassionate pet owners. “This program will go a long way toward raising awareness about a product that can save a lot of pets’ lives,” says Lisa Huston of Smiths Medical.
To date, the ongoing program has successfully provided more than 2,500 masks to fire stations across the country. Supporters can purchase a single mask for their local fire house for $25, or a mask set which includes a small, medium, and large mask for $65. Sponsorship can be completed at Bark10-4.com or via a link at surgivet.com. The sponsor designates the specific department to receive the gifted masks, which are delivered with the shipping/handling costs paid by Smiths Medical. If a single fire house receives more masks than are needed, the fire chief has the option of storing additional masks for future use or distributing them among local fire houses.
Consider making a donation to the fire department in your town or neighborhood. “The mask only works if it’s on the truck,” said Jose M. Torres, Battalion Chief of “A” Platoon in Santa Monica, California. “Together we can save pets’ lives.” – Stephanie Colman
For more information:
Bark Buckle UP