WAGN First Responder Banner

October is Fire Safety Awareness Month. According to DisasterCenter.com, 80% of fatal fires occur in buildings where people sleep – whether in homes, hotels or dormitories – when people are likely to be less alert. Since an deadly poisonous gas and black smoke takes just seconds to accumulate and an entire home can be consumed by flames within 3 minutes, fast escape is of the utmost importance.

Fire Safety for You and Your Pets

I think about this a lot since our house relies on the neighbor’s distant pond rather than a hydrant for extinguishing needs. In fact, we’re reconfiguring our home for just that reason, converting the bedroom loft (with just one exit and no door to keep rising gasses out) into an office while adding a first floor bedroom with an external door into a fenced yard. This will ensure that humans and animals have the fastest egress possible if woken suddenly in the night.

After the Escape

Regardless of planning, exposure to dangerous levels of carbon minoxide and other gases can take a toll. People often require oxygen after a fire, and pets are no different. Wag’N Enterprises, a Virginia-based pet safety company, is doing something about that.

02 Fur Life: Pet Oxygen Masks

Fire Fightersand O2Wag’N Enterprises provides first responders a channel to order life-saving pet oxygen kits through their program, O2 Fur Life®.  O2 Fur Life was created by Ines de Pablo, Wag’N’s executive director of Pet Emergency Management Division, in 2008 when she realized that aftercare of pets rescued from emergencies, such as fires, was something that most first responders weren’t equipped to handle.

Throughout October, the company and kit-manufacturer McCulloch Medical are offering free shipping in observance of National Fire Safety Awareness Month.

O2 Map“The goal of O2 Fur Life is to get all first responders in North America to carry pet oxygen mask kits to help distressed pets after an emergency,” Ines de Pablo, said.  “McCulloch Medical generously offered to cover all shipping costs for first responder, direct and sponsor O2 Fur Life orders placed between Oct. 1 and Oct. 31.  This is a great way to save pets and money.”

o2 mapNow, de Pablo’s work has placed 2,460 life-saving pet oxygen kits in more than 1,050 first responder departments in the United States and Canada.

Pet oxygen kits work similarly to those used on humans.  The kits contain three different sizes of masks that can accommodate different size animals –everything from a ferret to a foal.  Below is a demonstration on how these masks are used.

Ines De PabloDe Pablo said Wag’N doesn’t turn a profit from providing the kits to first responders because they are sold at cost.  However, consumers may also purchase the kits at a slight markup with the profits going right back into the program so that Wag’N can donate masks to other first responders.

Pet oxygen kits start at $70 for all first responders and sponsor orders and $90 for private consumers.  More information is available on Wag’N’s website.

Since the fall of 2009, Wag’N has been working diligently with McCulloch Medical to raise pet safety awareness and pet oxygen mask awareness during the National Fire Safety awareness season.  De Pablo says, “Too many animals get injured and die every year due to preventable fire related emergencies. Incident mitigation combined with pet oxygen mask kits can help save countless pet lives”

What’s your fire safety plan?