Oxygen masks for pets — life-saver donated to 150 squads in NJ
If they hadn't been right around the corner from a veterinarian's office, the New Milford Volunteer Ambulance Corps may not have been so lucky with a dog discovered during a carbon monoxide call late last year.
The crew had oxygen masks for the two humans inside the Oradell home — one of whom was unconscious — but there was no device on hand to assist the canine.
The close call stuck in the mind of Jessica Brunner, the squad's captain, and some research led her to a Connecticut-based company that donates oxygen masks for pets.
The ambulance corps received two sets — each with multiple sizes of masks — a couple weeks ago. They're designed for a pet's snout, which a human mask would not fit.
"If we use one of our masks on a pet, we can't guarantee that they're getting the 100 percent oxygen that they need because it's going to mix with room air before it gets to their nose and mouth," Brunner said.
About 150 fire departments and first aid squads across New Jersey have received mask donations from at-home pet services provider Canine Company. The Northvale Volunteer Ambulance Corps joined New Milford's squad as the latest recipients of the masks, which would otherwise cost hundreds of dollars to acquire.
Not all volunteer departments, struggling for members and operating solely on donations, can make that financial commitment.
Since receiving three sets of masks in 2016, the Township of Union Fire Department has not had any documented uses of the equipment, according to Chief Michael Scanio.
That's a good thing, he said. And a set of masks is still on a vehicle for every call, just in case.
"The fire servce in general — we are basically here for the what-ifs of the world," Scanio said. "A lot of stuff — it's nice that we have it, we hope we never have to use it."