Pet oxygen masks added to firefighting arsenal

In this September 2015, file photo, Cornwall firefighter Addison Pelkey rescues a puppy from a duplex fire. The Cornwall Fire Department now has pet oxygen masks to treat animals suffering from smoke inhalation. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – When building fires happen in the city, public concern turns not only to the occupants, but also family pets.

Now, city firefighters have another tool at their disposal to help treat animals at the scene – pet oxygen masks.

They are on every pumper truck in the Cornwall fleet and can be used to treat a number of species – cats, dogs, ferrets, rabbits and birds – for smoke inhalation.

The fire service has used human oxygen masks before to treat dogs and cats suffering from smoke inhalation, firefighter Jeff McIntryre said.

“We have had success in saving pet lives in the past but with this donation, we will be better equipped to give our furry family members the proper oxygen they require,” he said.

The fire department says the first priority is always to assist the occupants involved and make sure everyone gets out safely, but there’s also an opportunity to help animals.

The masks were received through a donation by Invisible Fence Gatineau.