Two charities have teamed-up to equip all fire engines in East Sussex with pet oxygen kits in an effort to save the lives of more animals.
The RSPCA has joined forces with charity Smokey Paws to pay for one animal oxygen kit for every fire engine in the county - with the aim of rolling this scheme out across the whole of the UK.
Brian Lockyer from Smokey Paws said, “With 46 per cent of UK households having pets and more than 40,000 house fires a year in the UK, animals can tragically often become the victims of smoke inhalation and poisoning.
“If oxygen is available at the scene, it should be provided to the pet.”
Smokey Paws raises money for the life-saving masks via public donations, company sponsorships and fundraisers.
But now the RSPCA is also helping to fund the kits in an effort to introduce the scheme nationwide.
RSPCA animal welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said, “The bond between people and their pets can be incredibly strong and so losing a pet in a house fire can be hugely traumatic.
“Our pets can be very vulnerable to the dangers of house fires and particularly smoke inhalation. The fire and rescue services in this country do a wonderful job, we’d like to help them not only save the lives of people but also of beloved pets.”
East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service says all crews in East Sussex will now carry an animal oxygen kit on board as standard practice.
Operations manager for the county fire service Matthew Elder said, “We have found that it can be difficult to revive a pet with a human-style oxygen mask but this piece of equipment will assist us as it is specifically designed to fit around muzzles rather than a human nose and mouth.
“For many residents in this area pets are part of the family and we feel that it is our duty to rescue animals and give them the best chance of survival,”
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit: www.rspca.org.uk/give or text LOVE to 87023 to give £3 (Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message).
To support Smokey Paws, please visit the website www.smokeypaws.co.uk