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The masks, provided by a charity called Smokey Paws and paid for by donations, are part of a kit specially tailored for small household pets and larger animals.
Following an initial trial of six masks rolled out to Croxteth, Toxteth, Birkenhead, St Helens, Huyton and Formby Community Fire Stations last September, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS) has now swelled its numbers of Smokey Paws masks to 14 in total.
The new kits are being carried on fire engines based at Speke, Kirkdale and Old Swan Community Fire Stations in Liverpool, as well as at Southport, Bootle & Netherton, Eccleston, Upton and Wallasey Community Fire Stations.
It means that every borough in Merseyside has a pet-friendly oxygen mask on at least one appliance. The kit formerly donated to Huyton Community Fire Station has been transferred to the new Prescot Community Fire & Police Station.
Costing £90 each, the kits consist of three pet-sized oxygen masks that can be used for a variety of animals. They also include oxygen tubes, muzzles and a slip lead in case an animal becomes agitated while being rescued.
They range in size to fit small pets such as hamsters, snakes, dogs and cats and larger animals such as sheep and horses, and are designed to fit snugly around the snout of animals to ensure a better flow of oxygen.
Group Manager Rob Pritchard, who has worked closely with Smokey Paws to help procure the masks for MFRS fire engines, said: “It’s fantastic to now have pet oxygen masks on appliances at five fire stations in Liverpool.
“We are incredibly grateful to the people and organisations who have helped raise money to allow us to boost our numbers of the Smokey Paws kits. They will vastly improve our chances of reviving many more animals in Liverpool who have suffered smoke inhalation at fires.
“Once animals have been rescued they often, much like humans, require some form of oxygen therapy to assist in their immediate care and recovery. These masks are specifically designed to fit the faces of different animals and mean we can tailor our response to the individual pet involved in the incident.
“Pets are an enormous part of any family, so we are thrilled that we have more of this life-saving equipment on fire engines in the city. It would be wonderful if we could eventually have a kit on an appliance at every station in Merseyside.”
Smokey Paws is a not-for-profit organisation that provides the animal-friendly first aid masks to fire services across the UK and relies on donations and fundraising from individuals and organisations.
With the masks now on appliances based at five fire stations in Liverpool, Smokey Paws is hoping to get this equipment in place at all stations across Merseyside.
Lynn Carberry, co-founder of Smokey Paws, said: “It is fantastic that Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service has received three more kits for its Liverpool stations and that these will be used to ensure pets’ lives are saved in the city.
“The masks we provide are specifically shaped to fit animals’ snouts properly when administering oxygen. Up until now, many fire services have been using human masks when treating animals which aren’t shaped effectively enough; our pet masks ensure as much oxygen can be administered as possible to the animal or pet in need.
“Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service need a lot more of our pet life-saving masks and we would love to hear from any members of the public, local businesses and community groups in Liverpool who can help us raise funds to roll out the masks across Merseyside.”
If you would like to find out more about Smokey Paws’ pet life-saving mission, or if you can help raise funds and awareness in Liverpool, please contact Lynn on 0203 195 3892 / 07340 754 408 or at [email protected]
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