3/27/2013 11:00:00 AM Pets in Harbor Springs will breathe easier thanks to new oxygen mask donation
Nancy Turner of Bay Pines Veterinary Clinic, Julie DeGroot of Little Traverse Bay Humane Society, Dave Hoxsie and Scott Scanlon of Invisible Fence of Northern Michigan, and Dick Schiller, Harbor Springs Police Chief, pose with the new oxygen mask kit donated by Invisible Fence of Northern Michigan and the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association. Dave Hoxsie, pictured center, demonstrates how the masks works on his own dog, Bella. Courtesy photo.
Jessica Evans News Manager
Animals are beloved members of many families and now, due to a donation of a pet oxygen mask kit to the Harbor Springs Fire Department by Invisible Fence of Northern Michigan and Michigan Veterinary Medical Association, pets will be better protected in the chance that a home fire occurs.
The mask kit donation is part of Project Breathe, an initiative of the Invisible Fence brand to ensure every fire station in the United States and Canada is equipped with pet oxygen masks. The company has donated nearly 10,000 masks, which has resulted in over 80 animals saved.
The masks, much like those used for humans, allow firefighters to provide pets with oxygen who are suffering from smoke inhalation. They come in small, medium and large sizes, in order to fit a variety of breeds of dogs and cats. The masks can make a difference in whether an animal survives a house fire, said Dave Hoxsie of Invisible Fence for Northern Michigan.
"Animals lungs are much smaller than ours and it's the oxygen that saves lives in the event of a fire," Hoxsie said. "We're trying to provide these masks to all of the fire departments up here. It's free to them, as we cover the costs."
Hoxsie noted that the masks are already saving pet's lives in northern Michigan.
"We recently donated oxygen masks to a fire department in the Interlochen area and within a matter of weeks, these were used to save the life of a dog and a cat, so these are definitely making a positive impact here."
Hoxsie stated that the masks act as an aid to firefighters, allowing them to focus their attention on the fire at hand.
"Fire fighters would have had to use mouth to mouth before to provide the animal with oxygen," he said. "This way they can hand over the masks to a volunteer to assist the animal and it lets them focus on putting out the fire. It's pretty cool."
Harbor Springs Fire Chief Dick Schiller said he is grateful to have this equipment available on his rescue truck.
"We're very excited about it," he said. "It's a terrific opportunity for us and we appreciate Invisible Fence and the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association for thinking of us."
"We have encountered many fire situations where pets have been lost, and if we had had these masks, they would have likely been saved," Schiller continued. "This just gives us one more means of serving the public and helping them save their beloved pets."