Partnership to help firefighters save beloved family pets from smoke inhalation
15 June 2016
Smokey Paws will raise funds to equip Scottish Fire and Rescue Service stations with animal-specific oxygen masks
Above: Flint is 'rescued' from a house fire
Above: Firefighters use the Smokey Paws donated mask to give Flint oxygen therapy
Above: (Left to right) Watch Manager Mark McGill, Firefighter Jonathan Honeyman, Flint, and Watch Manager David Boyle.
A partnership between the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and the not-for-profit organisation Smokey Paws aims to make oxygen masks designed specifically for animals available for use at incidents.
Firefighters responding to house fires often attempt to provide oxygen to beloved family pets that have suffered smoke inhalation.
Masks designed for people are not always easy to use on animals, meaning SFRS crews may have to improvise in order to help save their lives.
Smokey Paws is promoting the use of pet-sized oxygen masks – the same type as used by veterinarians during medical procedures –among fire services throughout the UK and it will attempt to raise money to equip stations with them.
Deputy Assistant Chief Officer John Dickie of the SFRS Response and Resilience directorate said: “Our crews are dedicated to saving lives and while our priority is always to protect people, there are certainly times when firefighters work to save pets.
“A fire in the home can still be an absolutely devastating experience even when people escape unhurt.
“Heat, flames and toxic smoke not only endanger life, cause serious injuries and leave potentially lifelong emotional trauma, they also destroy property and result in the loss of things that can never be replaced.”
He added: “For many people a pet is a member of their family and if it suffers from breathing in smoke then they look to our crews to help save its life.
“If this partnership with Smokey Paws means firefighters getting access to a piece of equipment that will help them to do that then it’s obviously something that’s well worth being part of.”
Smokey Paws was founded in April 2015 by couple Brian Lockyer and Lynn Carberry, who is originally from the United States, where many fire stations have the pet-sized masks.
They set-up the organisation with the aim of raising enough money to make the lifesaving kits, each of which costs around £90, available to every first responder in the UK.
The partnership will see the public nominate individual fire stations to receive the kit via the Smokey Paws website:
www.smokeypaws.co.uk. Public donations will then be sought by Smokey Paws to raise the funds needed to buy the mask, which would be given to the station at no cost to SFRS.
NOTE: The images were taken in controlled conditions at the SFRS National Training Centre and the dog was not exposed to any danger or distress. Flint is a trained SFRS dog used to operating on incident grounds and comfortable in the presence of firefighters in full protective wear.