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Pet emergencies

New mask to help animal rescues

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Posted: Monday, October 8, 2012 2:00 pm

JEANERETTE — Pet owners in Jeanerette may have more peace of mind now that the fire department is carrying oxygen masks specifically designed for pets.

Janet Romero, 52, has seven dogs. When her stove caught on fire when she wasn’t home a few months ago while three of her dogs were inside, it solidified in her what she already wanted to do: donate animal oxygen mask kits to the local fire department.

Romero, a Jeanerette native, said luckily, the fire put itself out and didn’t spread to the rest of the house.

Jeanerette Volunteer Fire Department Chief Mitch Dubois Sr. said only once in his 28-year career has he had to use oxygen on a pet, and it worked.

“A pet’s just like anybody else,” Dubois said. “It’s part of your family.”

Dubois said he was all for the masks when Romero contacted him about donating them.

“If I have proper equipment, it makes my job easier,” he said.

The kit the station received has oxygen masks in three different sizes, oxygen tubes, instructional materials and a leash.

Dubois said every firefighter will be trained to use the equipment and will practice in drills. He said he hopes the masks will catch on and more departments around the state will make an effort to get the kits.

Romero said she’s trying to do her part to make that happen by providing at least one kit for every station in Iberia Parish. Once there’s at least one per station, Romero said she’d like to have kits on each truck carrying oxygen.

Romero orders the kits from Wag’N Enterprises, which has set up a website exclusively for its pet oxygen mask initiative at www.petoxygenmasks.org.

The kits are $75 and the company offers three purchase methods, allowing first responders to order directly; allowing individuals, companies or organization to sponsor first responders by ordering kits and having them shipped directly to the station; or first responders can apply for a fellowship for Wag’N to raise the money to sponsor them.

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