Scottish Fire and Rescue Service launches appeal for pet oxygen masks

Firefighters are appealing for funds to make sure more of their stations carry lifesaving oxygen masks for pets.

Tom Arthur MSP and his dog Mimi (centre) met firefighters

Tom Arthur MSP and his dog Mimi (centre) met firefighters

A non-profit organisation called Smokey Paws works to provide oxygen resuscitation masks, free of charge, to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

They are specially designed to fit all types of pets, from large dogs to small hamsters – and even snakes.

These can deliver around 90 per cent of the available oxygen supply, compared to just 10 per cent if a regulation mask for humans is used.

Ron Ewing, of Smokey Paws Scotland, said:“In the event of a house fire, while most humans evacuate the building, animals often panic, instinctively hiding inside the house, where firefighters must go to search for them.

“Sadly, it is often too late to save these pets from the harmful effects of smoke inhalation.

“Most firefighting appliances carry oxygen resuscitation equipment but, as the face masks used with this equipment are designed specifically for humans, oxygen delivery to animals is not very effective.”

“This means that many animals cannot be resuscitated with the current equipment, resulting in the loss of the pet, which is understandably heartbreaking for both the firefighters and pet owners.”

Each pet mask kit costs £90 and Renfrewshire South MSP Tom Arthur is among those supporting the drive to have more of them available to firefighters.

The SNP man took his pet pooch Mimi along to meet firefighters and learn more about the pet masks.

Mr Arthur said: “As a dog owner, I am delighted to support Smokey Paws Scotland and the work it does to ensure our rescue services have the equipment to save our pets.”

For more information or to find out how you can help, visit the Smokey Paws website at www.smokeypaws.co.uk