Springfield FD Gets Life Saving Equipment for Pets
Resident and pet lover helped raise money for new oxygen masks.
Until recently, Springfield Firefighters were only equipped to help members of a single species: human. Thanks to an initiative undertaken by a pet-loving Springfield resident, they are able to save lives of pets as well.
This month, all Springfield fire department vehicles were equipped with breathing masks designed to work with dogs and cats. The masks work are compatible with preexisting firefighting equipment and are compact, able fit into small bags and stowed into emergency vehicles without displacing any other gear. Each bag includes CPR instructions for animals.
Standard issue masks are too large for animals and are unable to completely cover a face not shaped like a human’s, such as a dog’s snout. The Emma Zen masks fit comfortably over dogs’ and cats’ faces mouths and noses, letting them breath after they are rescued from fires and other emergencies.
The masks are the result of an effort by Springfield resident Lillian Reitz, who found the masks, distributed by the California nonprofit group the Emma Zen foundation, through a group on Facebook. She contacted the Springfield fire Deputy Chief Carlo Palumbo, who readily agreed to implement the program.
“A pet’s a member of a family,” Palumbo said.
Reitz urged her friends to help her raise the funds for the equipment. She said people were eager to help—she raised the funds necessary to equip the fire engines with the $75 masks in one day.
While Reitz owns three cats, she said that she had other pets’ safety in mind with the program.
“It’s something I felt I could do for the community,” Reitz said.