Their first goal is to save lives – human lives, that is. As firefighters, they brave flames and risk death to ensure the residents of Newark, Ohio, can make it out of burning homes and engulfed buildings alive.
But there is something unique about this fire department. While they carry with them on each mission the equipment required to save area citizens, they now also have equipped specialized oxygen masks for pets.
With the most common form of death from fires being smoke inhalation, pets often survive fires but later die because of lung damage. As the Columbus Dispatch reports, one local family was saved by area fire fighters, but their pets “were in bad shape after inhaling smoke” and “within a few days, both dogs died.”
The new equipment will work to save pet lives moving forward.
The Dispatch reports:
When the masks are used to save a pet, it can make all the difference for the owners, Metzger said.
“It’s almost like some of their animals are direct family members, just as if they were kids,” he said. “They are extremely appreciative. Most of them get very emotional.”
Until recently, the use of pet oxygen masks has been a gray area for some departments, such as the Columbus Fire Division, because state law said care to animals had to be administered by a licensed veterinarian, said Battalion Chief Steve Martin.
But Gov. John Kasich signed House Bill 187 into law in May, which officially allows first responders to provide treatment to pets.
Now with the new equipment, Newark firefighters hope to continue saving furry lives in future. As Captain Brandon Metzger said, “when we’re able to see the positives outweigh the negatives in terms of treating animals with simply oxygen, it was a no-brainer for us.”
Head over to the Dispatch for the full story.