BOGHT CORNERS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Too often firefighters aren’t able to save pets from a fire, but one local department is now equipped with gear that could help them keep our four-legged friends alive.
Jake Oreshan loves his dog, Luke, and doesn’t know what he’d do without him.
“I’m pretty attached to my dog and if anything happened to any of my animals I would be devastated,” Oreshan said.
Unfortunately, though he’s seen other families experience this kind of loss as the First Assistant Chief of the Boght Fire District.
“We see it more and more as more and more people nowadays have pets or multiple pets and it’s a matter of time before you know we run into it again,” he said.
It’s estimated that 40,000 to 150,000 pets die in fires every year, the majority of smoke inhalation.
Fire crews try to give pets a fighting chance by using a conventional oxygen mask, but it’s not ideal.
“To put a human oxygen mask on a dog, doesn’t always work the best,” Oreshan said.
So they’re getting oxygen masks specifically designed to fit the muzzle of an animal, through a program called Project Breathe started by the company Invisible Fence.
“We go and donate oxygen pet masks to you know different rescue groups, fire stations,” Kim Bellizzi of Invisible Fence said.
Bellizzi says they’ll be donating three kits to Boght, each containing a small, medium and large mask to fit different sized animals.
All firefighters have to do is hook it up to their oxygen tank.
About 20 departments in the area have them, including Alplaus which recently resuscitated a dog with one.
“He was an older dog and they had it on him for 15 minutes and it saved his life,” Bellizzi said.
Oreshan can only hope that Boght can be just as lucky if he ever has to use it.
“I hope to never have to use them, to be honest with you, but it’s nice to know that we have the proper tool to take care of somebody’s pet if we need to,” Oreshan said.
So far project breathe has saved about 10,000 pets from smoke inhalation.