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Camden Fire Department acquires pet oxygen masks

Posted: November 4, 2010 5:55 p.m.
Updated: November 5, 2010 5:00 a.m.
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One of Fincannon's two cats models the pet oxygen masks.

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The Camden Fire Department (CFD) has placed into two sets of oxygen mask for household pets into service. The department has received two sets of these oxygen mask for pets along with training videos on their use from a Charleston group, Oxygen Masks For Pets, headed up by Janet Fincannon. Each set contains three masks that will fit small, medium and large pets. These masks have features that will allow them to be used on conscious and unconscious animals. The donation of these specially designed (and potentially lifesaving) pet oxygen mask sets will enable the CFD to efficiently administer oxygen to a stricken animal so that they will be able to seek medical attention from a veterinarian.

“(I have) seen many times in the past when these masks could have been put to use. These pets, by many, are seen as family members,” Deputy Chief Phil Elliot said.

Although not an official U.S. Fire Administration statistic, it is estimated that 500,000 pets are affected by home fires each year and that up to 150,000 pets each year die in these fires with most succumbing to smoke inhalation. In most areas, emergency responders are not equipped to handle this type of emergency. Through donations, Fincannon is hoping to change that. Her plan is to provide these masks to all departments who request them at no cost. For more information about the pet oxygen mask donation program or to donate, contact Fincannon at oxygenmasks4pets@comcast.net or visit www.oxygenmasks4pets.org.

The department wants to remind all families they need a smoke detector and a fire escape plan for their homes. Smoke detectors should be checked monthly and batteries changed twice a year.  A fire escape plan should include two escape routes out of each room and a family meeting place outside away from the home. These plans must be practiced by the whole family. Remember that once outside never go back inside, that is the fire departments job. Any questions about fire safety, contact the Camden Fire Department at 425-6040.

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