Las Cruces – Area fire departments including the Las Cruces Fire Department and Mesilla Fire Department are getting animal oxygen masks to help animals that are injured in house fires thanks to the donations and efforts of Therapaws volunteers.
The masks are designed to be used on pets in emergency situations. Therapaws volunteer Debbie Seavey saw a need and decided to fill it. "I called the local departments and found out they didn't have these masks for animals." Ms. Seavey is working on getting enough donations to equip 32 county fire units as well. Most of the money collected so far has come from Therapaws volunteers.
While official data is not collected on fire deaths for pets, industry sources have estimated that at least 40,000 pets die each year in fires. Some estimates place that number as high as 150,000. "Once we have ensured that all human lives are safe, we do what we can for the animals involved in house fires. We use masks designed for people," says Battalion Chief Kristen Andersen, spokesperson for the Las Cruces Fire Department.
Ms. Seavey has purchased the Wag'N O2 Fur Life(r) Kit which provides plastic, cup-shaped animal resuscitation masks that were developed for use by veterinarians. They come in three sizes and seal around the muzzle of an animal tighter than a human mask. This will help firefighters deliver the right amount of oxygen to the pet while protecting firefighters from injured animals that may bite out of fear.
Mesilla Fire Department is hosting presentation on Tuesday, September 13th at 2:00 P.M., at the Public Safety Building, 2670 Calle de Parian, in Mesilla, during which time both departments will accept the masks donated by Therapaws volunteers. All are invited to attend including fire department personnel and animal welfare groups.