When the fire brigade marches out, it’s not just a matter of saving human lives. Emergency forces frequently have to save house pets that suffer from smoke poisoning. That’s why the first fire brigades are now upgrading their equipment.
In the United States, so-called pet oxygen masks have been around for a long time, and fire brigades in Europe are now starting to follow suit. Rescue workers in Britain have been seen testing pet oxygen masks, while rescuers in the German town of Delmenhorst have acquired respiratory masks for house pets in three sizes – suitable for dogs, hamsters and parakeets.
This marks the first time such kits are being used in Germany, according to fire department spokesman Holger Klein-Dietz, based in the state of Lower Saxony. A German company began distributing these kits at the beginning of the year, which is why Klein-Dietz believes that other fire brigades around the country will soon purchase these household pet masks.
“The fires have changed,” explains the expert. Because of the many plastic articles lying around apartments and thicker windows in homes today, a lot more smoke results from a fire. After all of the people concerned are out of danger, firefighters will also save house pets. “It doesn’t make a difference whether it’s a dog or a tarantula,” said Klein-Dietz.
But until now, firefighters have had to improvise. “Oxygen masks for people don’t work for house pets,” said Klein-Dietz. “They don’t seal off correctly.” These breathing masks for animals are made out of a flexible material that adapts to the animal’s muzzle, and they can even be pulled over the heads of birds, mice or other tiny creatures. – dpa