Industrial Fire Journal - Fire & Rescue - Hemming Group Ltd
Oxygen Masks for Animals Campaign
Published:  09 February, 2018

All fire engines in Shropshire, UK, will now be stocked with pet-sized oxygen masks following a successful campaign to improve the survival of animals that have inhaled smoke in house fires.

Shrewsbury Fire HQ Watch manager Martin Huckle helped to coordinate the campaign after he was contacted by Hectors Greyhound Rescue in Gobowen, which organised a charity walk to buy the first masks, two mini oxygen masks designed for use on cats, dogs and smaller animals.

‘Small animals inhale smoke four times faster than we do and can collapse very quickly,’ explained Huckle. ‘Human oxygen masks, which we used in the past, just don’t fit properly and these pet-sized masks are much more effective in reviving them and saving their lives.’

Among the fundraising activities for the campaign was a ‘bring your pet to work day’ organised by support officer Emily Hodson, while Telford firefighter Louise Fletcher also raised funds to pay for five pet oxygen masks, among the first to go onto fire appliances.

 So far, 28 masks costing £90 each have been purchased via donations to the campaign and placed on all of Shropshire's fire appliances. These masks have been used to revive cats in house fires in Ellesmere and Shrewsbury, and sheep and spring lambs in Whitchurch.

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service is one of the first UK brigades in to have the masks on all fire appliances, and Martin Huckle is regularly called upon to provide advice to other brigades on pet oxygen masks.