Published: 16:43, 12 November 2015
| Updated: 16:45, 12 November 2015
Pets caught up in Kent house fires have a better chance of survival thanks to a donation of specially adapted oxygen masks.
Firefighters often end up using their own masks to try and revive animals which have inhaled smoke, but now not-for-profit organisation Smokey Paws has given Kent Fire and Rescue Service four sets of equipment designed for pets.
The masks can be used on dogs, cats and smaller animals like rabbits, snakes and mice.
Scroll down for video
Initially they will be carried on fire engines in Faversham, Ash-cum-Ridley, Deal and Sittingbourne with plans for all stations in the county to eventually have them.
In the last year, KFRS has been to more than 40 fires with dogs and cats involved, some of which resulted in the animals being given oxygen.
The masks will be handed over to KFRS’s Faversham-based animal rescue team on Thursday, November 19.
Station manager Dave Nolan, who has been leading the project, explained that pets are just as frightened as people if there is a fire at home, but they are more likely to run and find a place to hide, meaning they could potentially be in a smoke filled space for longer.
VIDEO: More pets to be saved thanks to equipment
“We know pets are precious to people and owners often put their own lives at risk to rescue them, although we would always advise against returning to any burning building,” he said.
“We are grateful to Smokey Paws for providing this new kit, which will enable us to help pets that need medical attention in the immediate aftermath of a fire.”
Lynn Carberry from Smokey Paws said the four sets of masks are a great start to equipping all of Kent’s fire stations.
They were made possible from donations from national pet care company Animals at Home, members of the public and The Domestic Cleaning Alliance.
“The fire service tries hard to revive pets using human oxygen masks but these are not designed for use on animals,” she said.
“The pet oxygen masks are specifically designed and therefore more efficient.
“We raise money for the life-saving pet oxygen masks and replacements via public donations and company sponsorship. “Everyone can become involved; schools can arrange fundraisers and we are seeking shops willing to take our donation boxes.”
Smokey Paws is hoping members of the public and businesses will make donations so these pet oxygen masks are available at fire stations across Kent.
Click here to donate or for more information.