SOUTH BEND — First Responders with Cleveland Township Fire Department are now some of the best-equipped in the nation to save a pet’s life. That’s because Invisible Fence of South Bend has donated two pet oxygen mask kits to the department.
This 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 and EMS staff to give oxygen to pets who are suffering from smoke inhalation when they are rescued from fires and often save pets’ lives.
Invisible Fence® Brand has donated a total of more than 12,400 pet oxygen masks to fire stations all over the U.S. and Canada throughout the life of the program. A reported 150+ pets have been saved by the donated masks so far, including one family dog by the Rochester Fire Department in early September of last year.
“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.”
“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™ program is simply a way of giving firefighters the tools necessary to save pets’ lives.”
South Bend, Indiana and surrounding areas are now joining the ranks of cities like Seattle, Chicago, Denver, and Salt Lake City who have all received donated pet oxygen masks from Project Breathe™ program.
“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.
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.
The company has set up a website, www.invisiblefence.com/O2, where local fire personnel can make a request for their own departments.