Argos Emergency Responders Receive Oxygen Masks for Animals

The Argos Volunteer Fire Department and EMS responders will now have the ability to better care for pets in emergency fire situations.

Oxygen masks designed for house pets were recommended for emergency responders to carry after a structure fire more than a week ago. A grant application made the purchase of the masks possible.

Argos Assistant Fire Chief Doug Middleton says pets are often considered members of the family.

“As devastating as a fire is to lose something or someone of value to you, this will hopefully cut down on the loss of life for pets and that’s just one more thing we can do for them,” says Middleton.

Two felines escaped a burning apartment building during the incident that sparked the purchase, but one of the animals was in need of oxygen assistance. A makeshift mask was placed on the animal at the time. Both survived the incident.

The equipment upgrade now accounts for variations in animal snouts and are specific to cats and dogs. Devices also have a rubber seal that prevents oxygen from escaping.

Middleton says having the masks makes things simpler.

“Before we just kind of held it up by the cat’s face and let the air blow by – which is okay, it works good, you can do that with humans too,” says Middleton. “This kind of gets it right over their mouth, their muzzle and they can really inhale a higher percentage of oxygen to help them out a lot more.”

The oxygen masks will be reviewed at a monthly meeting of the Argos volunteer Fire and EMS departments and will likely to be placed in responding EMS vehicles.

Middleton says the grant is available to any fire department. That means plenty of emergency responders around the state could have animal kits available.