A cat rescued from a house fire has become the first to be revived using a specialist pet oxygen mask.
Two cats were rescued from the blaze in Paddington on Friday afternoon with one given oxygen by the London Fire Brigade (LFB).
The masks were donated to LFB by the not-for-profit organisation Smokey Paws.
They come in three sizes and can be used on dogs and cats, as well as smaller animals such as rabbits, snakes and mice.
The masks will be carried on fire engines in Battersea, Paddington, Richmond and Hammersmith as part of a pilot scheme.
If the trial proves to be a success, the kits will be rolled out to stations across the capital.
Before now, firefighters rescuing animals that had lost consciousness after inhaling smoke were forced to improvise when trying to revive them.
However, LFB said it recognises how ‘precious’ pets are to families and hopes the new kits will ‘bring a bit of hope and positivity to families in a traumatic situation’.
Station officer Nathan Beeby, who was at the scene on Friday, said: ‘Crews did a great job in challenging conditions to tackle this house fire and then were able to focus on the pets they had rescued.
‘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.
‘The crews all thought it was a great piece of equipment that was easy to use with the training they had all had, quick to get to work with and ultimately saved the cat’s life.
‘Having the specialist equipment there also put the occupier at ease and they were really happy with the outcome.’
London’s firefighters have attended more than 100 fires involving dogs, cats and other pets since 2019.
Dave O’Neill, LFB deputy assistant commissioner for operational policy said: ‘Of course, a firefighter’s priority is always to save any human life, but we know how precious people’s pets are to them and we also know owners will put their own lives at risk by trying to return to a burning building to rescue them.
‘We know there’s been an increase in people getting pets during the pandemic and we are likely to see more animals involved in incidents, so we needed to improve our ability to respond appropriately.
‘This new equipment will allow our crews to safely provide oxygen to any animals which need medical attention in the immediate aftermath of a fire.
‘They will also bring a bit of hope and positivity to families in a traumatic situation.’
The new pet equipment trial follows other investments in equipment such as fire escape hoods and taller ladders.
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