MIDDLETOWN >> Middletown Fire will be accepting two new pet oxygen mask kits in October.
According to Middletown citizen Patty Twiss, the idea came to her after seeing an article about how the masks can save the lives of dogs and cats involved in fires.
“I got in touch with the Connecticut Vet Association,” Twiss said. “From there, I told them I would like to look into donating them.”
Twiss was soon connected with president of the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Foundation, Dr. Arnold Goldman, and the two looked into whether Middletown had any of the masks or not and if they wanted them.
The foundation is an offshoot of the association which offers programs for pet owners such as pet emergency management.
“There has been incidents where local firefighters tried to help save a pet not that long ago,” Goldman said. “Animals get overcome by smoke and sometimes do wake up after breathing oxygen on the ground, just like people. You have to get to them soon enough.”
Twiss, a cat owner herself, felt it was important for the departments to have the kits. Each kit holds three different masks, one for cats, one for small dogs and one for large dogs.
“It sounded like a good thing to have on a fire truck,” Twiss said. “It feels good to be able to help out.”
The two kits together cost only $150 and will go toward saving the lives of local pets.
“Over the next few weeks, we will go down and offer basic training to the firefighters,” Goldman said. “Using the masks is basic, but we’ll offer animal handling advice especially when handling other people’s animals in times of stress.”
Goldman, a former volunteer firefighter in Canton, said he certainly understands how firefighters feel about animals.
“Many firefighters care about the animals,” Goldman said.
The masks will be officially presented to Middletown Fire Chief Robert Kronenberger and the department in a small presentation on Oct. 9.
“I am delighted that the Middletown Fire Departments will be able to provide oxygen assistance when needed, said Goldman in a statement. CVMF’s goal is to outfit every fire department in Connecticut. CVMF, along with the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Association, its sister organization, strives to be a leader in animal welfare. “This program is part of our larger commitment to animal protection in time of emergencies.”
The masks have already been distributed and used in other towns to resuscitate pets rescued in house fires.