MERRILLVILLE | A longtime animal rights activist is working to help prevent pets from falling victim to smoke inhalation in fires.
Merrillville resident Elaine Chenore is hoping to distribute self-contained oxygen recovery kits for pets to fire departments throughout the area and even throughout the state.
"I intend to keep this going as far as I can. I want the whole state covered," Chenore said.
She said the oxygen recovery kits, which come in small, medium and large, can be used on cats, dogs and even birds.
The kits include animal oxygen mask sets that enable rescue squads to efficiently administer oxygen to a stricken animal, Chenore said.
"They can be used on any pet that is living with the family," Chenore said.
Chenore, 82, said she's been working as an animal rights activist for close to 62 years.
Chenore said the kits cost about $85 each.
She's been receiving financial assistance from a number of area businesses, but would like to see additional involvement perhaps in fundraising efforts from schools or student organizations.
She has distributed the kits to fire stations in Merrillville, Lake Station, Hobart, Crown Point, Porter, Lowell, Cedar Lake, Schererville and St. John.
She is in the process of also delivering the kits to officials in Munster and Gary.
She said she sent one of the kits to a small town in Wisconsin, where her father served as a volunteer firefighter.
"I'm doing it in my dad's memory," Chenore said.
Chenore said she's been in both a barn fire and house fire and knows how awful it can be.
"I'm asked why I'm doing this, and my answer is because it's needed," Chenore said.
For more information, contact Chenore at (219) 980-0661 or 742-1384.