In the event of a fire at your home, what would happen to your pet if he were to suffer from the effects of smoke inhalation?
You can’t help but have been moved and shocked at the recent tragedy that struck the residents of Grenfell Tower in London. So many human lives lost or unaccounted for. Of course it doesn’t really bear thinking about but there may well have been
many pets caught up in the devastating fire too.
When humans are rescued from a burning building, they can be given an oxygen mask to help with their breathing until they can be suitably treated elsewhere. These masks are far too large to treat a cat or dog so we are incredibly thankful to hear of the ongoing work of Smokey Paws, an innovative organisation that is really helping to make a difference.
Smokey Paws is a not for profit organisation on a big pet lifesaving mission. Smokey Paws aims to get specially designed pet oxygen masks into the UK fire service and wherever multiple animals exist, such as wildlife sanctuaries, kennels and catteries, so that pets have a better chance of survival. With almost half (46%) of UK households owning pets and with over 42,000 house fires in the UK alone last year, there is no wonder over two million Brits have lost pets in house fires, not to mention how many animals could come to need them in wildlife sanctuaries and rehoming centres.
Smokey Paws believes that if oxygen is available at the scene it should be used as effectively as possible – their specially shaped
pet oxygen masks enable the pet to get 95-100% oxygen as opposed to only 5% if using the human oxygen masks.
Smokey Paws was set up by Brian Lockyer and Lynn Carberry. It started when they were discussing how they would get their Labrador out in a house fi re and they noticed that while these pet oxygen masks are widely available in America, they weren’t
available here in the UK.
Smokey Paws Founder Brian Lockyer said: “Specially designed pet oxygen masks are more effective
on pets than the human masks often used to try and revive pets by fi rst responders. By providing one special animal oxygen kit for each fire engine in the country, as well as providing them to sanctuaries and shelters, we hope to enable first responders
to save even more animals’ lives.” Since June this year, all fi re engines in East Sussex are equipped with the specialist
pet oxygen masks, thanks to Smokey Paws teaming up with the RSPCA.
All crews in East Sussex now carry an animal oxygen kit onboard as standard practice. East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service operations manager, Matthew Elder, said: “Occasionally we see pets suffer from the detrimental effects of fire, leaving owners devastated, and this additional piece of equipment means that we can help to revive pets in those crucial moments following a fi re. We have found that it can be difficult to revive a pet with a human-style oxygen mask but this piece of equipment will assist us as it is specifi cally designed to fit around muzzles rather than a human nose and mouth.”
Smokey Paws still has a long way to go in their animal lifesaving mission and they are looking for as much support as possible. Emma Johnson, fundraiser at Smokey Paws, said: “We urge anyone who is interested in supporting us, from businesses to community groups and individuals, to get in touch with us today. Together we can save more pets’ lives.”