Animal masks donated to MP Fire Dept.

By on October 15, 2010

Resident conducts community collection to purchase devices
by Lynn Meredith
MAPLE PARK—When village resident Kimberley Meyers heard a disc jockey on US 99 talk about a resuscitation mask for pets that could be installed on a fire truck just like human oxygen masks, she agreed with the radio host that every fire department should have one. So she set out to make it happen in Maple Park.

Meyers collected donations from people at Maple Park taverns during Fun Fest this year to purchase the animal masks. She raised $110 and bought two sets for Maple Park.

“My idea was to ask for $1 from everyone to spread it around, so it would seem like a community effort,” Meyers said. “I hit all three bars. The patrons and the owners were very generous.”

The mask fits over the snout of the animal and uses the regular oxygen that fire departments already have. It comes in three sizes for animals ranging from birds to bull mastiffs.

“It is designed as an oxygen recovery mask, if an animal is overcome by smoke and needs oxygen just like we would,” Meyers said.

Before collecting the money, Meyers spoke to Maple Park Fire Chief Kevin Peterson about putting the masks on his truck.

“He was leery at first, but I told him to watch the video of the dog being resuscitated,” Meyers said. “The dog is out, but pretty soon, you see his tail start to wag. It’s cool. I told the chief that I’d get the masks. He was gracious about agreeing to do it.”

Peterson said that he had heard of the masks before but hadn’t looked into them until Meyers brought them to his attention.

“It’s a good thing. The biggest time it will be used is at a fire with smoke inhalation,” Peterson said.

Before Peterson installs the devices in a fire truck, he plans to obtain some training on how to use them.

“It’s one of these things that you may never have to use, but it’s a good thing to have,” Peterson said.

The Fire Department does not need to purchase any additional equipment for the masks.

Although Meyers has two cats, her motivation was to help Maple Park.

“I wanted to do something for the town,” Meyers said. “This seemed pretty easy. If they never have to use it, that’s great. If they do, it will be well worth it.”

To see a dramatic animal resuscitation using one of the pet masks, visit helpanimalsinc.org.