Los Lunas Fire Department raising funds for pet oxygen masks

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The Los Lunas Fire Department is raising money to buy something to protect pets ― oxygen masks that could help animals stay alive if there happens to be a family emergency.

The department, whose personnel responds to medical and fire calls, has signed up online to generate money to buy three kits that fit over the muzzle of dogs and allow the animal to receive oxygen.

Those who want to donate can go to www.gofundme.com/vkre4 to help raise funds for the cause that could help save an animal's life. The department needs $252 to buy the kits.

The kits, made by Wag'N Enterprises, LLC, makes pet oxygen masks that come in three different sizes and can be used on dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, guinea pigs and birds.

The kits come with a leash and forms so that emergency personnel can document the amount of oxygen that was given to the animal on any particular incident. The kits also come with a power point presentation to train officials how to administer treatment.

"Right now, if we had a structure fire and there was a dog or a cat in there and they needed to be resuscitated, we don't have the means (to save them)," said Tommy Madrid, of the Los Lunas Fire Department.

Instead, firefighters would need to hold a piece of oxygen tubing up to the animal's mouth.

He said officials want to keep the kits in three of the department's primary trucks and said the kits should get plenty of use.

He said about 80 percent of Valencia County residents that are involved in emergency calls are pet owners.

The polycarbonate masks feature dual vents and an oxygen adapter to enable the animals to breathe more naturally, according to the pet emergency management website.

The masks can be used on animals who need to be resuscitated and those that haven't lost consciousness. Each mask has the ability to attach to a device that would allow officials to breath into the animal's mouth.

Since 2008, about 1,700 fire departments have purchased similar masks.

Madrid said emergency personnel don't often treat pets on emergency calls.

"Right now, we don't do anything like that," Madrid said. "Unless, we were to pull (an animal out) and it was having some kind of smoke asphyxiation. With these, we will have the tools to help out the animals."

He said residents should donate so the department can get essential tools that could potentially save their pet's life.

"Most people treat their animals like family," Madrid said. "Of course, the family themselves are worried about their spouses and their children (during an emergency). But right behind that is (their) animal."

Once the department reaches their goal, they will have a decal on their trucks to let residents know that officials have the masks. Madrid said the masks could wind up saving the lives of animals.

"You never know," he said.


-- Email the author at bruffner@news-bulletin.com.