Fire Department trains in how to save pets

HAWLEY, PA – Members of the Hawley Volunteer Fire Department received a different kind of training recently. From Invisible Fence Northeast PA, a volunteer firefighter from Mountain Top Hose Company, Sean Prohaska demonstrated how to apply air to a pet in an emergency situation using an oxygen mask for pets.

Through the outreach program, Project Breathe, Invisible Fence donates the masks to fire departments across the country.

A firefighter for 35 years, Prohaska told the volunteers from the Hawley Department that saving the pets is something he too, lives to do.

The kit the department received, has three different sized masks, oxygen lines and instructions for training. To get the animal out of the situation, there is a leash to use. Prohaska told the volunteers that when dealing with the pets, they should consider it like dealing with children since they too, will be scared.

With the oxygen tank, the mask is just as if the air was going to used for a human. There are settings for small, medium and large dogs. If the pet were to be unconscious, Prohaska explained that the animal’s snout was to be held closed and the mask was to cover its entire snout.

Depending on how long the pet had been unconscious, the setting for air varies. To prevent the air from escaping, the first responder is to use their fingers to cover the animal’s vents which forces air into the nose. Prohaska reminded the volunteers is the same they would do, if they were assisting a human and to watch the chest for breathing.

Over the past few years, Prohaska has given nearly a hundred of the masks to fire departments. While he has been a firefighter for awhile, Prohaska has yet to use the device. But, he was aware of cats being saved because of the masks.

The devices have been around for a few years, but Hawley received their own after Angel Hanrahan who is a second lieutenant with the Hawley Fire Company and works at the Wallenpaupack Veterinary Clinic, learned of the resource.

In December alone, Prohaska gave 12 devices to fire departments and as of the March presentation, he had already given four away. One is all that a department needs, however, since they can be reused. The masks, Prohaska said is something every fire department should have.

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Posted in Fire Service, Firefighting.