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Pet-friendly oxygen masks become part of county's fire service

Tuesday November 8th 2016

Oxygen masks for pets have been installed on every fire engine and at every fire station in a county to help animals survive house blazes.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service is the UK's first fire service to roll out the masks across all of its 50-plus stations and 57 frontline engines, the organisation behind the project says.

The first set of masks was delivered last November and since then they have been used to treat 12 cats and four dogs in one emergency alone.

Among those treated were a Jack Russell who became trapped up to its neck in water under a metal grill drain and received aid until it could be freed.

A horse also received life-saving oxygen in Romney Marsh after the horse box it was travelling in was involved in a crash.

The masks - which cost £90 for a full reusable set - have been sponsored by local businesses and supplied through not-for-profit organisation Smokey Paws.

Smokey Paws co-founder Brian Lockyer said: "We now have 400 sets of masks at 28 different fire services across the country, but Kent is the one fire service that has really run with the project.

"We have small masks for guinea pigs and snakes, medium ones for cats and small dogs and large ones which help big dogs and even horses. Every week they are being used to help save pets' lives."

David Nolan, of Kent Fire and Rescue Service, said: "We know just how important people's pets are to them and the risks they will take to rescue them."

Firefighters in Kent are also among the first in the country to receive enhanced pet resuscitation training, and a dog manikin is used to hone their pet-saving skills.

Copyright Press Association 2016