Cary firefighter donates oxygen masks for pets

During a recent fire in Cary, firefighters rescued nine cats from a building, and while they all survived, some had smoke inhalation and the Cary Fire Protection District had only one mask for them.

It's one of the reasons Cary firefighter and ice cream shop owner Randy Scott, who also had a cat die from inhaling smoke during one of his first calls as a firefighter eight years ago, said he decided to donate three pet oxygen masks to the department.

"I wanted to spread the word that this is a thing," said Scott, who owns three cats. "We want to show that the fire department cares about pets as well. Now, Cary has something to administer oxygen to dogs, cats or any animal in need."

The masks will be kept in the fire district's ambulances, fire department officials said in a news release.

"Pet oxygen masks are a quick and easily deployable way to administer oxygen in the event of an emergency," the department said. "They are compatible for use with the oxygen cylinders already present on our ambulance and fire trucks."

Nearly 40,000 pets die in house fires each year, mainly due to smoke inhalation, the American Veterinary Medical Association said in a 2018 report.

The masks cost $100 each and came from Pawprints Oxygen, Scott said, adding that it is important for him to give back to the community, either through his work as a firefighter or fundraising for local pet shelters.

Over the next few months, Scott also said he hopes to promote legislation that would mandate pet oxygen masks being on ambulances statewide.

Scott and his wife, Meredith, who are both Cary natives, own Cary Dairy Ice Cream Cafe across the street from Cary Fire Station 1.

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