A group of red bags

Photo/Project Breathe™ Program

Carie Canterbury

Daily Record, Canon City, Colo


More pets in Fremont County will be saved after a life-saving donation by Furry Paws Daycare to the Cañon City Area Fire Protection District and AMR.

Julia Bartkowiak, owner and operator of Furry Paws Daycare, and her mother, Nancy Bartkowiak, who provides socialization for service dogs in training, learned about Invisible Fence’s Project Breathe while on vacation. When they returned home, they contacted the local fire station and AMR to see if they are equipped with the pet oxygen masks.

What they learned is AMR didn’t have such masks, and the fire district does, but they are outdated.

The Bartkowiaks have an emergency evacuation plan at the daycare, but if there was a fire, they would hope responders would be able to help the dogs in their care. They looked up Project Breathe and requested a set of masks for each fire truck and ambulance. They received the masks soon after at no charge.

Each kit includes a small, medium and large mask.

John Solis, a paramedic with AMR, said had ambulances been equipped with such masks, many dogs could have been saved through the years. Most pets die from smoke inhalation, he said.

“When the firefighters are fighting the fire, they bring the victims out to us, animals and people,” he said. “We will  definitely have the chance to use these on an actual call.”

Paramedics try to save animals with human oxygen masks, but they don’t fit properly and they’re not ideal.

“These will work way better,” Solis said.

The goal of the Project Breathe Program is to ensure that every fire department and rescue unit is equipped with life-saving pet oxygen masks.

Invisible Fence has donated more than 23,500 masks to fire stations throughout the U.S. and Canada.

According to their website, industry sources estimate that 40,000 to 150,000 pets die each year in fires. Most succumb to smoke inhalation. In most states, emergency responders lack the equipment to resuscitate and save pets.

So far, the program has saved at least 201 pets from fire and smoke inhalation from the over 25,170 masks that have been donated.

For more information, visit https://www.invisiblefence.com/why-invisible-fence/project-breathe.


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