Oak Bay firefighters have received a couple of new tools to help in their efforts to protect lives in the community.
The Greater Victoria Dog Obedience Training Club donated a pair of pet oxygen masks to the Oak Bay Fire Department.
“Certainly the value for us is an opportunity to have the appropriate equipment for pets when we get to the scene,” said Oak Bay Fire Chief Dave Cockle.
He said a recent count showed there are 2.3 pets per household in the community and firefighters come across pets “all the time, whether it’s a house fire or carbon monoxide incident. This will give us every opportunity to try and save the life of an animal.”
Greater Victoria Dog Obedience Training Club president Marion Boulstridge said the project was started by their sister club in North Saanich that donated pet oxygen masks to every fire department on the Peninsula.
“We kind of took their idea and ran with it,” said Boulstridge, adding the two oxygen masks were supplied to Oak Bay after they learned the department didn’t have any.
The masks are two different sizes and cost about $350 for the pair.
“They will cover everything from little birds to large dogs,” said Boulstridge.
Cockle said the new masks will allow them to look after any type of pet they might come across inside a home.
“What we’ve normally done is used whatever we had on board, whether it was a child mask or an adult mask, and did our best to attempt to resuscitate with those pieces,” said Cockle, noting the human face is significantly flatter than that of a cat or dog.
“It makes a big difference when you have the appropriate tool that you can get right over top of the mouth and the nose of the animal and actually give them an opportunity to survive.”
The Greater Victoria Dog Obedience Training Club has about 100 members spread across the region and Boulstridge said they all recognize that pets can be an important part of a family.
“Many of us will spend whatever money it takes to ensure the health and well-being of our pets,” she said. “If there is a fire and one of our animals is caught in it, we’d like to think the fire department would be able to help them too.”