Members of the Kirkland Fire Department smile with Dr. Christine Wilford and Invisible Fence Seattle General Manager Tammy Sully after receiving a donation of six pet oxygen masks. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Members of the Kirkland Fire Department smile with Dr. Christine Wilford and Invisible Fence Seattle General Manager Tammy Sully after receiving a donation of six pet oxygen masks. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Kirkland Fire Department receives pet oxygen mask donation

The equipment can save the lives of pets suffering from smoke inhalation.

While fire departments are ready to battle blazes and rescue victims at a moment’s notice, not every unit is equipped to assist pets affected by smoke inhalation.

With new pet oxygen masks donated by Invisible Fence’s Project Breathe program, the Kirkland Fire Department will be able to help pets on the scene of a fire and hopefully reduce the number of pet fatalities.

Each year, it’s estimated more than 40,000 pets die in fires, most succumbing to smoke inhalation. In most cases, first responders lack the equipment to resuscitate and save these animals. Since Project Breathe’s inception in 2006, a total of 24,000 masks have been donated to first responders and nearly 200 animal lives have been saved.

As part of its 45th anniversary this year, Invisible Fence is donating 45 pet oxygen mask kits (135 pet oxygen masks), to fire departments across the country through Project Breathe. Kirkland received its donation on Oct. 4, during National Fire Safety Month.

The donation was made by Invisible Fence of Northwest’s general manager Tammy Sully, who brought her dogs Jake and Daisy along to help firefighters learn how to use the masks. On-site pet demonstrations were provided by Dr. Christine Wilford, DVM, of Island Cats Veterinary Hospital on Mercer Island.

Wilford said that the masks are easy to use on animals – from dogs and cats to rabbits and gerbils – if they are unconscious, but that it gets trickier if they are awake. Putting an unknown object near an animal’s face if it is already anxious and panicked can induce a fight or flight response.

When the animals engage in self defense, they may end up harming those who are trying to help them. Wilford said it’s all about “watching how stressed the animal is, and not contributing to that.”

Along with teaching firefighters how to use the oxygen masks, Wilford also demonstrated how to perform CPR on dogs and cats.

The city of Kirkland was grateful for the donation, according to Communications Program Manager Kellie Stickney, but wanted to emphasize that this equipment will be available only at the scene of a fire and if there are no other safety concerns. For other pet emergencies, residents should call a veterinarian or animal hospital.

There are ways to let first responders know if there are pets in your home, in case of emergency. You can place a label at the entryway that details the number and type of animals living there, or carry a card in your wallet. These and other resources are available at the Invisible Fence office in Kirkland.

For more on Project Breathe, see www.invisiblefence.com/why-invisible-fence/project-breathe.

Dr. Christine Wilford demonstrates how to use the pet oxygen mask on Jake, an Australian cattle dog. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Dr. Christine Wilford demonstrates how to use the pet oxygen mask on Jake, an Australian cattle dog. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Daisy, a rescued beagle, was another participant in last Thursday’s pet oxygen mask demonstrations. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Daisy, a rescued beagle, was another participant in last Thursday’s pet oxygen mask demonstrations. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Dr. Christine Wilford teaches Kirkland firefighters where to find a pulse and how to perform CPR on dogs. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Dr. Christine Wilford teaches Kirkland firefighters where to find a pulse and how to perform CPR on dogs. Katie Metzger/staff photo

More in News

Bill targets sexual health curriculum in Washington schools

Senate Bill 5395 is co-sponsored by 17 Democratic representatives and introduced by Sen. Claire Wilson, D-Federal Way.

According to King County’s Mental Illness and Drug Dependency (MIDD) annual report, Seattle had the highest rate of people using services at 36 percent of the total, followed by 31 percent from South King County, 18 percent from the greater Eastside, and 7 percent from north county including Shoreline.
Study shows King County’s treatment funding is making progress

A document on the county’s .1 percent health sales tax was accepted Wednesday by the county council.

Children’s play area at Seadrunar. Photo by Lauren Davis via Facebook
Seedy side of Seadrunar: Drug rehab center accused of neglect, exploitation

Public records reveal that Seattle facility was accused of neglecting children and clients in its care.

Southbound traffic backs up as northbound drivers cruise on with ease on the Highway 99 viaduct on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
WSDOT hopes ‘Viadoom’ habits continue

The department credits commuters with adapting to the closure and mitigating impacts.

New Friends of Youth CEO, Paul Lwali, will replace Terry Pottmeyer. Courtesy photo.
Friends of Youth hires new CEO

Pottmeyer steps down; Lwali becomes new Friends of Youth CEO.

Russell Wilson and Ciara spoke Friday at the Tukwila Library to Foster students and other attendees as their Why Not You Foundation joined forces with the King County Library System and JPMorgan Chase to launch the DREAM BIG: Anything is Possible campaign. Photo by Kayse Angel
Russell Wilson and Ciara launch DREAM BIG campaign

Partnership with King County libraries dovetails with scholarship program for local students.

Somali community faces SeaTac displacement

Proposed redevelopment threatens the heart of the Somali business community.

One of the ‘snowiest’ months on record

Citizens fled to stores to stock up on needed supplies; City staff worked to keep roads clear.

Kirkland City Council to interview five finalists for vacancy

Neal Black, Uzma Butte, Kelli Curtis, Amy Falcone and Sue Keller were selected.

Most Read