More fire companies in the area have acquired pet oxygen masks from Wag’N Enterprises 02 Fur Life Program.
The masks can be used on conscious pets that have suffered from smoke inhalation and on pets that need to be resuscitated after losing consciousness due to exposure to toxic fumes.
Joni Weaver, Kim Riek and Judy Mearns and several employees of Somerset Trust Co.’s Richland office used their own money to purchase three pet oxygen masks that the group will give to the Johnstown, Richland and West Hills Regional fire companies.
Weaver, Riek and Mearns are members of Habitat for Hounds, but emphasized they used their personal finances, not Habitat money, to buy the masks. Weaver is president and Riek is treasurer of Habitat.
Mearns is a Habitat volunteer.
Riek is vice president and commercial loan officer at Somerset Trust’s Richland office.
Each mask kit costs $65 and includes three masks, for small, medium and large pets. The masks are for use primarily on dogs and cats but also can be used for other animals as well, notes Wag’N Enterprises, which is based in Herndon, Va.
The masks are cone-shaped and fit over the animal’s nose.
The masks are a way to help those animals have a chance to survive fires, Riek said.
“These masks are great,” she said.
Johnstown fire Chief Anthony Kovacic said the firefighters rescue pets from structure fires, search and rescue missions and other emergencies.
And, Kovacic noted, the masks also can help should a police dog need emergency service.
Jason Ober, spokesman for the Richland department, said saving a pet can help families get over the loss of their homes and belongings. And saving the life of a pet makes the firefighters feel good also, he added.
“We’re thankful we have the masks,” he said.
The East Taylor Volunteer Fire Department and its ambulance service have received two mask sets, said Rickey Price, in charge of emergency medical services for East Taylor.
He said East Taylor had no clue the mask kits were coming to the township. They came through the website barkbuckleup.com, which Price said has provided the kits to 30,000 fire departments nationwide.
One of the kits has been placed in the ambulance and the other in the first-out engine for all fire calls, Price said.
In November, the Somerset Volunteer Fire Company and Berlin Ambulance Association each received two sets of masks.