The Branford Fire Department has received a donation of three sets of specially designed pet oxygen masks to help first responders resuscitate pets rescued during house fires. The gift came from at-home pet services provider Canine Company of Wilton.
Family pets are at risk because they are unable to leave the house. An estimated 4,000 die each year from smoke inhalation.
The cone-shaped pet masks are designed for a pet's snout, which human masks can not fit. Each set includes three sizes for a wide range of pets -- from small mammals to giant breed dogs -- and connect to standard oxygen tanks the rescue teams carry. Canine Company also provided free "Pets Inside" decals that families can place on a front door or window.
The department requested the donation after learing about Canine Company's charitable campaign toget the life-saving masks into the hands of firefighters and other first responders in communities where clients and their pets live.
Laura Burban, director of the town's Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter, coordinated the donation for the fire department at the request of Branford Fire Chief Thomas Mahoney.
"My wife Sherry saw that another department had received a donation of pet oxygen masks from Canine Company and suggested I look into it," explained Chief Mahoney. "We had received a donation of masks in the past but it was many years ago. When I looked into the current condition, I knew they needed to be replaced. That's when I reached out to Laura Burban."
According to Mahoney, the first time the department used such a mask, responders successfully resuscitated a dog overcome at a fire on Cedar Street. The dog's companion went on to become a Branford Firefighter Paramedic (after first serving in the U.S. Air Force).
Renee Coughlin of Canine Company said the business was founded by a "family of pet lovers, and our mission is to help other families keep their pets healthy, safe and happy."
"We do that with the services we offer and it's the focuse of our charitable programs, too," said Coughlin.
In last year, Canine Company donated mask kits to more than 80 communities in New England, including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, where kits were given to the New Haven and Ansonia Fire Departments.
Canine Company provides at-home services to keep pets healthy, safe and happy, including Invisible Fence brand pet containment systems, Manners dog obedience training, mobile grooming and pet sitting. Its Canine Gives campaign supports pet rescue groups and donates pet oxygen masks to First Responders. For more information, visit www.caninecompany.com