The New Haven Fire Department is now among a growing number of departments equipped with special pet respirators.
The city’s fire department is one of five in Connecticut that has the ability to save a dog’s life during a fire call with oxygen kits specifically designed for canines.
Fire Chief John Alton said most fire departments don’t have the appropriate apparatus to save a pet from smoke inhalation, which is how most pets die in fires, according to Alton. But he warned, this is not an invitation to call the fire department anytime a pet is in distress. Alton said New Haven is already responding to 30,000 emergency medical service calls a year.
“We cannot make this a separate call for pet rescue,” said Alton. “These resuscitation masks are when, in the regular course of our duties, we come across a canine that needs oxygen supply to it.”
The city has adopted protocol for a complete animal response program, which includes cats and other domestic pets. This became a national focus during Hurricane Katrina when about 250,000 animals of all kinds were left behind.
The 16 oxygen kits come in three sizes and were donated by Canine Company, located in Wilton, Connecticut.