Specialist animal oxygen masks are now being carried on every fire engine in West Sussex in a bid to save the lives of pets caught up in fires.
The specialist kits are being funded by two charities - Smokey Paws and the RSPCA - and all fire service crews will now carry a kit on board as standard practice.
Station manager Roy Barraclough said: “Even small fires at home can produce a surprising amount of smoke and if a pet is suffering from smoke inhalation it can be hugely distressing for the owner; the availability of these kits will allow our firefighters to better help animals in need.
“We would like to say a huge thank you to Smokey Paws, the RSPCA and every donator who has made it possible to stock these specialist kits on our fire appliances.”
Lynn Carberry from Smokey Paws added: “Smokey Paws’ goal is to equip all the UK Fire Service appliances and animal homing centres in the UK with these life-saving masks. We would like to thank West Sussex Fire and Rescue and everyone who donated to help the pets in West Sussex have the best chance of survival.”
Smokey Paws raises the money for the life-saving masks via public donations, company sponsorships and fundraisers. But now, the RSPCA is also helping to fund the kits in an effort to roll them out across the country.
RSPCA spokeswoman Sally Bruce said: “Pets can be vulnerable to the dangers of house fires, particularly smoke inhalation, and that’s why we thought it was really important to team up with Smokey Paws and work together to make their aim a reality - to ensure every fire engine in this country carries a specialist animal oxygen therapy kit.”
If you would like to support the work of Smokey Paws text SAVE to 66299 to donate £4.50. (Texts cost £4.50 + your standard network rate message).
To help the RSPCA continue its work to improve animal welfare visit: www.rspca.org.uk/give or text LOVE to 87023 to give £3 (Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message).