The masks donated by the Havanese Club of Northern California, a branch of the national organization dedicated to the Havanese dog breed, will enable firefighters to provide oxygen to canines and felines suffering from smoke asphyxiation.
Each kit costs $80 and contains masks for three different-sized muzzles, oxygen air tubes, a laminated instruction sheet and leash. They also include incident report forms to track statistics, decals, an instructional video and a PowerPoint presentation on DVD.
In the past, similar masks were donated by a local animal rescue group, but Tracy Fire Division Chief Andy Kellogg said those were taken out of service three or four years ago after they got too old.
Since then, the department has adapted human masks, usually the size used for children, but those don’t efficiently deliver oxygen because they don’t fit tightly around dog muzzles.
Kellogg said the new ones are a dramatic improvement.
“They’re pretty cool,” Kellogg said of the new masks. “We were pretty excited to see them. We’ve adapted human tools, but these will be more effective.”
The department typically uses a mask on an animal twice a year, he said.
The kits were presented to Kellogg at the Havanese Club of Northern California’s annual luncheon at the Banta Inn, 22563 Seventh St., in Banta, on Jan.13.
According to Tracy resident Susan Baxter, who belongs to the club, members decided to donate the masks as part of a local fundraising effort.
“We all know the cities and counties can’t afford to buy these things themselves, so we can help our communities,” Baxter said. “It’s a small thing to do for ourselves and our fellow pet owners in Tracy.”
The club raised enough money through donations to purchase 10 kits and plan to provide a second batch of five kits to the department. Members hope to eventually purchase a total of 15 so one kit can go on each department vehicle, including engines and utility trucks.
Havanese Club President Elaine Cirimele said members are trying to spread the word and solicit donations.
“It’s really a worthy cause,” she said. “Almost every household has some kind of pet. This will benefit all pet owners.”
For information: www.THEHCNC.com.
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