LIFE-SAVING equipment for pets will now be stocked on Lancashire fire engines after a donation from an animal charity.
Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service has been donated nine oxygen masks designed for pets by non-profit organisation Smokey Paws.
Firefighter Tom Cookson, who is responsible for response and emergency planning, believes the masks will make a huge difference.
He said: “In the past, we have had to use the same oxygen masks that we use on humans and these are obviously a lot bigger and a lot more difficult to use on pets that are terrified.
“The support that we have had from Smokey Paws has been fantastic. I know that their money will contribute to saving the lives of pets around Lancashire.”
The charity aims to provide greater protection for pet’s in house fires, and have managed to donate the masks with help from Pets at Home, Pets Choice and a member of the public.
These oxygen masks will be kept on fire engines across Lancashire, such as in Burnley, Darwen, Nelson and Blackburn, and will dramatically increase the chances of pets surviving from smoke inhalation.
Firefighters believe this equipment is needed as humans have enough trouble themselves before thinking about vulnerable pets.
Mr Cookson said: “Escaping from a fire is difficult enough for humans.
“There are some pets that are kept in cages or in a particular room in a house which can be extremely traumatic for them if a fire breaks.”
As they are specifically designed for dogs, cats and smaller animals like rabbits, snakes and mice, the tailored masks are more efficient than trying to use the human designs.
Smokey Paws are hoping that donating the oxygen masks to the fire service will just be the start of the help they can offer.
Lynn Carberry from Smokey Paws said: “The nine sets of masks being given to Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service are a great start to equipping all of Lancashire’s fire stations.
“Everyone can become involved; schools can arrange fundraisers and we are seeking shops willing to take our donation boxes.”
Smokey Paws is actively encouraging members of the public to make donations so that these pet oxygen masks are available at fire stations across the county.
People can donate via their website www.smokeypaws.co.uk.