Ventura County fire engines, rescue squads to carry oxygen masks for pets


Each fire engine and rescue squad will carry an assortment of masks and accessories that are shaped to fit muzzles and snouts of dogs, cats and other household pets, the department announced Monday. The masks fit with human oxygen systems the units carry as standard equipment.

"These masks will definitely help our firefighters save pets' lives," said Captain Mike Lindbery. "Right now when we try to resuscitate a pet all we can do is use a mask designed for humans and blow by air, hoping it will provide enough oxygen to the animal.

"Pet resuscitation is not a high-frequency event for us," said Lindbery. "But when a family escapes a house fire and their pet doesn't, it's devastating. These masks will give us a better chance of bringing those pets back."

The Emma Zen Foundation of Orange County is scheduled to donate the equipment at a Thursday morning event in Simi Valley. The Foundation estimates that 40,000 family pets die annually due to fire and fire-related issues.

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