TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN
Eric Boudreault, a training officer with Brandon Fire and Emergency Services, demonstrates the use of a pet oxygen mask kit on Quest, a rottweiler, as emergency services member Stephen Semchuk, veterinarian Dr. Sherry Wurtz and Stephanie Inkster, a registered animal health technologist, with Wheat City Veterinary Clinic and John Dryden, owner of Invisible Fence Brand of Southern Manitoba, look on at Firehall No. 1 on Wednesday. Invisible Fence Brand of Southern Manitoba and Wheat City Veterinary Clinic donated two pet oxygen mask kits to the City of Brandon.
Breathe easy, pet owners. If Fluffy or Spot are rescued from your burning home, Brandon firefighters will have a properly fitted oxygen mask to help them recover.
Wheat City Veterinary Clinic owner Sherry Wurtz helped make the equipment donation to Brandon Fire and Emergency Services possible.
Helping to save a beloved pet is simply the humane thing to do, she said. Plus, their survival will help lift the spirits of their owners.
"They’re part of our family, and if we can help them we should," Wurtz said at Firehall No. 1 on Wednesday as the donation was announced. "If you lose your house in a fire but you still have your dog or your cat, the world is a better place."
Invisible Fence Brand of Southern Manitoba donated a pair of pet oxygen mask kits to the fire department, which will be used to treat animals for smoke inhalation.
Basically, each mask consists of a clear, plastic cone that slips over the animal’s muzzle. The end of the cone is fitted with a flexible rubber ring that keeps it snug to the snout.
The cone is then connected to an oxygen tank via a tube.
There are different sizes to fit smaller or larger animals, be it a dog, cat or other pet.
The kits will be carried on ambulances — one at each of the city’s two fire halls.
It’s estimated that thousands of pets die in fires each year and many of those perish from smoke inhalation.
The donation is a part of Invisible Fence Brand’s Project Breathe program. Its goal is to equip every fire hall in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom with pet oxygen masks.
Wurtz helped make the local equipment donation possible by connecting the fire department with Invisible Fence Brand of Southern Manitoba.
Her clinic will also donate $100 — the equivalent of the cost of the oxygen mask kits — to the Manitoba Veterinary Medical Association to help the organization provide food to the pets of needy families at Christmas time.
Brandon Fire and Emergency Services training officer Eric Boudreault said it’s also important to firefighters to have the new equipment.
"A lot of our guys are pet owners already," Boudreault said. "This kind of hits home. If anything were to happen to their pets, I’m sure they’d want everything possible to be done."
Boudreault pointed out that the fire department could have used the equipment as recently as last week when three cats were rescued from a fire.
Invisible Fence Brand of Southern Manitoba owner John Dryden said it’s his dealership’s goal to equip every fire unit in Manitoba with masks.
Such equipment has already been donated to fire halls in the Winnipeg area and to one in Reston.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 13, 2012