Oxygen masks for pets donated to Lisle-Woodridge fire district
There's always a chance people aren't home when a fire breaks out in their house or apartment.
Unfortunately, the same can't be said for their pets.
Lisle-Woodridge Fire District Chief Keith Krestan said it's common for firefighters to find cats, dogs and other animals inside burning homes because of the number of people who have pets.
"Pets are part of families," Krestan said.
And just like humans, those animals can succumb to smoke inhalation. So if furry family members are rescued from a blaze, they often need immediate oxygen.
"Oxygen is the best drug you can give to anybody that's having any sort of breathing problems," Krestan said.
To help Lisle-Woodridge firefighters efficiently administer oxygen to stricken animals, Invisible Fence Brand has donated oxygen masks for pets to the fire protection district.
Five recovery kits were given to the district's headquarters in downtown Lisle and each kit contains three pet oxygen masks in small, medium and large sizes.
Christina Landwehr, the general manager of Invisible Fence of Chicagoland, met with a group of firefighters Wednesday to demonstrate how the masks are used. She was joined by Dr. Mondrian Contreras from Carol Stream Animal Hospital.
"We're donating these with the hope that you never have to use them," Landwehr told the firefighters. "But they're meant to make your jobs a little bit easier."
Landwehr brought her own dog -- a 4-year-old Welsh terrier named Benny -- for the demonstration. Before things got started, Benny was the center of attention along with Blue, a 10-week-old Labrador/husky mix, and Krestan's dog Daisy Duke.
While there is no official statistic, it's estimated that more than 40,000 pets die in fires each year, most succumbing to smoke inhalation.
Landwehr said the pet oxygen masks can be used to treat animals of all sizes.
"We've had a fire department rescue a gerbil before," she said. "Whatever animal needs some oxygen, these masks make it a lot easier to provide that."
The donation was made in support of Invisible Fence's Project Breathe Program. Since the effort started in 2006, more than 24,000 masks have been donated to fire departments.
A community member nominated Lisle-Woodridge to receive the free kits. The district received one for each of its fire stations.
"This equipment will be on vehicles coming out of every station," Deputy Chief Steve Demas said. "Pets are important to people. So we want to make sure we have the appropriate equipment to treat those parts of their family."