(In front) Kim Jennings of Strathcona Toyota (left) and Stephanie Arkwright of the Campbell River SPCA – along with some furry friends from the SPCA – celebrate the donation of a Pet Oxygen Mask Kit to Fire Hall No. 1 by Strathcona Toyota with (back row

Giving pets a breath of fresh air in smoky emergencies

Pet Oxygen Mask Kits work seamlessly with existing oxygen supply systems fire crews use to treat smoke inhalation

Your pets will be able to breathe easier after an emergency, thanks to a gift to the local fire department last week.

Strathcona Toyota has donated Pet Oxygen Mask Kits to help firefighters administer oxygen when responding to calls.

Terry Negrijn, Dealer Principal and Partner of Strathcona Toyota, recently saw these masks being donated by a veterinary hospital in Langley to their local fire department and thought, “what a great idea!”

So he decided to get some into this community, as well.

The mask works seamlessly with existing oxygen supply systems fire crews use to treat smoke inhalation, but provides delivery of that life-saving air through masks that are specially-designed for pets. The three different sizes of masks in the kit mean that any pet – be it ferret, guinea pig, bird, dog or cat – can be given oxygen by members trained in oxygen delivery.

“We are very excited and very pleased to be a part of this effort to help save our furry family members when in need,” said Kim Jennings of Strathcona Toyota, who Negrijn said was “integral” to the process of getting the masks.

Fire Chief Ian Baikie couldn’t say how many times per year they need to administer oxygen to animals, but did say, “it certainly happens, and on those rare occasions, the responders have been making do with masks that are designed for children or adults,” which can be problematic at times.

“They’re certainly not giving the right concentrations, because there’s a lot of leakage,” Baikie said. “This will definitely be an improvement.”

The two masks will now be aboard Campbell River’s No. 1 Fire Hall Truck and another two kits will soon be on their way to departments in Port Hardy and Port McNeill.