A new oxygen mask for animals has been used for the first time to rescue a pet cat from a house fire in London.
Last week, the London Fire Brigade were called to the address in Paddington where they successfully rescued two pet cats from the ground floor. Provided by not-for-profit organisation Smokey Paws, the masks come in three sizes and can be used on dogs and cats, as well as smaller animals such as rabbits, snakes and mice.
Prior to the introduction of specialist equipment, firefighters rescuing animals that had inhaled smoke were forced to improvise to try to revive them. Station Officer Nathan Beeby, who was called to the scene earlier this month, praised the equipment.
“Having something specially designed made so much difference as the mask is properly sealed around the animal’s muzzle and all the oxygen is going into their lungs,” he said. “Being able to administer oxygen via a properly fitted mask in the early stages will improve the chances for animals which have been saved from fires.”
Since 2019, London’s firefighters have responded to over 100 incidents involving dogs, cats or other pets. Dave O’Neill, the Brigade’s Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Operational Policy, said: “A firefighter’s priority is always to save human life, but we know how precious people’s pets are to them. We also know owners will put their own lives at risk by trying to return to a burning building to rescue them.”
The masks are part of a pilot scheme and will be carried on fire engines in Battersea, Paddington, Richmond and Hammersmith. If the trial is a success, the kit will be deployed to stations across the city.