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Pet oxygen mask donated to Reading firefighters

By Pam Cunningham, Reporter
Published On: Apr 22 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 24 2013 05:25:04 AM CDT

Firefighters in Reading have received a special donation that could mean the difference between life and death for your pet.

READING, Pa. -

Firefighters in Reading received a special donation. It's one that could mean the difference between life and death for your pet.

Fires can frighten people and can frighten pets.

"The woman got out okay and all she was worried about was her dog. And her dog got out okay. We reunited them and it's just like reuniting them with a family member," said Deputy Chief Jim Conrad.

But furry family members don't know how to help themselves.

"The animal's instinct is to hide when there's fire," said Conrad, "They're not running out a door like a human would. They'll hide under a bed or under a chair. And a lot of times we won't know about them until a resident says, 'my cat is missing or my dog is missing' or the firefighters find them in the process of fighting a fire."

Last month on Ninth Street in Reading, several pets needed help.

"I know a few of those did survive -- it's because they were able to get some fresh air," said Conrad.

They used pet oxygen masks.

"When we received these, these are helpful because the shape of the mask is more conducive to put over an animal's face that their mouth and nose are both inside of here so they can breath a lot better," said Conrad, "Which gives us a little bit better opportunity to get in there so they can get a little more fresh air. Their lungs are naturally a lot smaller so they're prone to be overcome more quickly."

The new pet mask kit was donated by petoxygenmasks.org.

"We're really glad to have it," said Conrad.