A campaign to stock fire engines with oxygen masks for pets has gained the support of a veterinary practice.

A firefighter at Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) is spearheading the campaign, which aims to have the essential apparatus stored on all fire appliances.

fire rescue
From left: RVN Emma Carey, firefighter Louise Fletcher and vet Tamsin Learoyd-Hill. Image: Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.

The Haygate Veterinary Centre – part of CVS (UK) Ltd – has joined forces with firefighter Louise Fletcher, fire officer Martin Huckle and other local organisations, including Shropshire-based Hector’s Greyhound Rescue, to provide masks.

Huge difference

Fifteen masks have been purchased or supplied by supporters, including two donated by Haygate Vets.

SFRS is the second brigade in the UK to carry them and Mrs Fletcher hopes other brigades will follow.

She said: “I’ve been a firefighter for nine years and have managed to rescue animals. I have also seen the distress caused to owners when they don’t survive a fire.

“While rescuing people from burning buildings will always be the priority, their animals are very important to them and the masks themselves are inexpensive and can make a huge difference to an animal’s chance of survival.”

Saving lives

She added: “If they are carried routinely on frontline fire appliances, we are likely to be able to save many much loved pets, which is, of course, good for them, but will also be of great comfort to their owners at a very difficult time.

“We’ve been fund-raising hard for the masks and are also very grateful for the support of Haygate Vets has stepped in to offer two.”

Haygate clinical director Sarah Wellstead said: “We are delighted to support the work Louise and SFRS are doing to help save the lives of pets caught up in house fires and think it is an initiative vets across the UK may wish to support in their local area.”

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