Veterinarian donates pet oxygen masks to fire departments

2014-05-14T00:00:00Z Veterinarian donates pet oxygen masks to fire departmentsTimes Staff
May 14, 2014 12:00 am  • 

WESTVILLE | Eighteen firefighters from 10 fire departments in LaPorte County attended a demonstration on pet oxygen masks and pet CPR sponsored by North Central Veterinary Emergency Center. The event was part of North Central Veterinary Emergency Center’s donation of pet oxygen masks to fire departments in LaPorte County.

“We are pleased to provide area fire departments with a gift that truly may make the difference between life and death for a pet caught in a fire,” said Dr. Lisa Polazzi who provided the training. According to Dr. Polazzi, “A pet specific oxygen mask is made in a cylindrical shape to fit snuggly over the face of a pet. We know that this snug fit can be the difference between life and death for animals.”

Dr. Polazzi said signs of smoke inhalation include: increased respiratory rate, sneezing, wheezing, dry cough, pale or bright red gums and other signs. Dr. Polazzi stated that any animal caught in a fire should be brought to a veterinarian for medical care as the effects of the fire are not always immediately apparent.

Dr. Polazzi demonstrated how to best restrain cats and dogs to avoid injury and bites to firefighters and other responders.

Dr. Polazzi and the staff of North Central Veterinary Emergency Center used their own pets to demonstrate how to restrain animals, how to find a pulse and how to perform CPR. Firefighters were given an opportunity to try finding a pulse on a cat and two dogs brought in for the demonstration.

The equipment and training received by firefighters is expected to help not only cats and dogs, but other animals as well. “This has never been just about house fires,” said Kingsford Union Fire Chief Brian Nurnberg. “We’ve had a couple occasions with horses where this equipment would have come in handy.”

“We put a lot of time into trying to find pets,” said LaPorte Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief A.C. Pressler. “We pull out more animals from fires than we do people. People are often able to rescue themselves.”

Jason Kish, of Center Township Fire Department, was instrumental in helping to organize the donation of masks and the event. “Now we have the equipment to help save the animals,” Kish said. “We are ready to respond to the needs of people or pets.”

“We were pleased to be able to provide these masks and the related training to LaPorte County fire departments,” said Heather Barbour, Hospital Administrator. “Our commitment to pets and the communities we serve extends beyond the walls of our clinic.”

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