Pet lovers are being urged to take part in a charity walk in Shropshire on Sunday to raise funds to buy the first animal oxygen mask for a county fire station.
Smokey Paws, a not for profit organisation, is campaigning to ensure every fire appliance in the UK carries a pet oxygen mask to revive an animal suffering from smoke inhalation after a building fire.
Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service is supporting the campaign which starts on March 20 at 11am with a charity walk in Ellesmere launched by a local pet rescue organisation.
Hectors Greyhound Rescue, which rehomes greyhounds in Shropshire, Cheshire and North Wales, contacted the Shropshire brigade to ask for its support to raise funds for the first oxygen mask in the county at Ellesmere Fire Station.
Watch Manager Martin Huckle said they were happy to trial the pet mask at Ellesmere for a year and if successful hoped that more equipment may be supplied with further charity raising events in other communities.
“It is for a good cause. Animals do die in house fires although they are resilient and usually find somewhere to hide low down in a fire. But this equipment would help to revive them if they suffer smoke inhalation.”
He said it was a good opportunity for the public to get involved in buying the potentially lifesaving equipment for pets.
Firefighters advise anyone in a house fire to get out as quickly as possible and not to endanger their own lives by returning to rescue their pets.
Dogs, cats and other small animals including hamsters and pet birds caught up in fires have been revived by firefighters using oxygen masks designed for humans, he said.
But pet sized masks, costing up to £90, are made in three sizes and fit an animal’s snout better than a human oxygen mask to give a better chance of survival, said Brian Lockyear of Smoky Paws.
The masks are used in some fire stations abroad and Avon and Somerset is the first in the UK to trial the masks on all their fire trucks.
Firefighters in Derbyshire successfully revived a budgie by giving it oxygen after a pet shop fire 18 months ago.
Hectors Greyhound Rescue is organising the Saint Patrick’s Day Walk on Sunday, March 20 in Ellesmere to raise funds for the venture. All are welcome and the meeting place for the start of the walk is Castlefields Car Park and Picnic Area, Ellesmere SY12 0PA at 11am.
For more information visit www.smokeypaws.co.uk or www.hectorsgreyhoundrescue.org