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back to article Boston firefighters get oxygen masks for cats and dogs

Firefighters in Boston say they are equipping every fire engine in the city with special oxygen masks intended for use by cats and dogs. "Smoke doesn't discriminate," Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald told Reuters, commenting on the furry-chum smoke-choke prevention equipment rollout. Rather than being intended for wear …

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M7S
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Joke

There would be no obvious application in the case of cats stuck up trees, however

Actually yes.

Propellant for the paintball launcher. That usually gets them out of the tree fairly "Sharpe"-ish.

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Coat

Parachuting with a dog

...means you know when to brace 'cos the lead goes slack.

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"There would be no obvious application in the case of cats stuck up trees, however."

Depends on how high the tree is.

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Alert

Just thinking out loud here

Cute little cuddly wuddly cat or dog (potentially injured) has just been pulled out of a burning building by strange masked men/women and then said stranger goes to strap a strange device over their muzzle.

I don't care if we're talking Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, my dog Skip... an injured/stressed animal is likely to react badly to that situation.

Just hope they provide the firefighters with some training on handling animals and a set of welders gloves.

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That...

... was my first thought, too! These critters don't always have the same idea of what's good for them as we do! I have the scars and the [partial] memory of eight days in hospital with a hand the size of a brown bear's paw to prove it!

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Yeah!

Some may scoff but consider that to some their beloved cat (Rule!) or dog (Drool!) is as important to them as any human member of their family, sometimes even more so.

As someone who was fortunate enough to have shared 17 years with a feline companion I welcome this news.

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a

Indeed and even for the cynical people who disagree that some animals are as important to their owners as another human may be it makes sense because it would help to stop people running back into a burning building to save a pet.

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Pint

Humans...

...are capable of deep emotional attachments to other species, especially dogs, who are predisposed to family (pack) ties.

The tragedy of a residential fire can be compounded a hundredfold by the death of a pet; this is a great idea, i might suggest it to our local FD's.

Doggies like beer, too.

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FAIL

Seriously dumb idea

There is not a city in N.A. that does not have underfunded police and disaster relief services. I'd say the money would have been better spent on those than saving some fat bastard's pet.

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Ta, Lewis

I realise this is a 'light' article but I am grateful. When I was 11 "a regular helmeted hero" pulled my pet dog from a housefire, and it died while I watched although he tried to feed it oxygen via a human face mask. I wouldn't wish that on any other child so I think this is an excellent idea. I've emailed the Massachusetts Vetinary Medical Association for the manufacturers contact details, and I hope to donate a few sets to my local fire-brigade. I wish I'd thought of it first but I am genuinely grateful to be shown this innovative piece of lateral thinking.

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Pint

Whoever tries to put one of those things on a cat,

let alone a cat who is probably in a state of VERY high dudgeon, deserves combat pay.

<-- or at least a beer above and beyond

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Pint

I don't see the joke here.

That people love and value their pets should come as no surprise.

If it relives the strain on a child or her grandparent to know that their pet is safe and well-cared for, it is something worth doing.

Something to set against the trauma of the fire.

The service animal - the guide dog - is expensive to train, difficult to replace - and the bond can be much deeper.

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Happy

You'd be surprised

Fire Brigades are usually known as Fire and Rescue Service. They put out fires and rescue people from car wrecks and odd places. They also routinely rescue animals, dogs, cats, birds, horses - whatever. They're specially trained to work with animals.

I heard one case (on the UHF radio) where the local brigade rescued some kittens from a street drain. They brought along milk and saucer especially. While they were still feeding the kittens a call about a fire came in. They listed themselves as still busy and got another station to attend.

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@Pikeydawg and protective clothing

Have you seen the typical firefighters outfit? They're not going to callouts dressed like in those calendars, you know. ;) Heavy coat, heavy gloves, helmet and facemask. Perfect for tackling a manic moggy.

Actually, never mind. Call it natural selection for temperament - if you don't want to be nice to the person pulling you out of a fire, you can stay in there and get toasted. I know a fair few moggies and nasty little terriers who'd be better as barbecue.

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Happy

From a practical standpoint

...that probably will be how it works out. If the pets in question aren't incapacitated or otherwise amenable to the treatment in question, the firefighters won't push it and they won't get the treatment.

There's always exceptions though. To their credit, the fire brigade is made up of go-getter types and I could see some, at least, if not most giving up only as a last resort vs. first sign of "piss off and get the hell away from me"

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Anonymous Coward

Pets are often quite tame

You would be surprised how cooperative pets can be when receiving medical attention. Some commenters apparently have very limited experience.

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Limited experience?

Does fostering/rehabilitating cats and dogs with the local Humane Society for 5 years count as experience?

I might have come across as overstating the case somewhat earlier. If so it wasn't intentional. As you say, "Pets are often quite tame"... I don't disagree with that at all.

What I was trying to get at is that most people, IMO and experience at least, don't know how to read an animal properly or how to approach and handle them in a severely stressed or injury situation. It is quite easy for someone to unintentionally escalate a situation with improper handling/approach, and sometimes in an injury situation - and definitely more so if the owner isn't around - there is just no getting around the fact the animal does not want to be touched and feels it needs to defend itself.

In such an extreme case - which I have seen before - proper equipment (like firefighters' jackets and gloves, welders gloves, blankets, catch poles, or a combination thereof) or *extremely* adept handling is required to administer medical attention. That *is* a rarity, but it happens... even well tempered animals.

Furthermore, from a legal and liability standpoint, AFAIK, there is no formal distinction between an animal bite (more specifically dogs as nobody seems to really care about legislating for cat scratches/bites) under duress vs. normal circumstances. While I don't see firefighters as the type to run around suing or filing complaints on everyone, in the end it's in everyone's interest that the firefighter have at least some basic information (if not training) about reading and handling animals and proper equipment to keep them safe *should* it be necessary for those rare and extreme situations.

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Good for those fire departments!

The firefighters are expected to render assistance to the injured animals regardless of their equipment, better to have the right tool for the job. And for those worried about first responders getting scratched or bitten, even though I've never done it myself, I expect applying the correctly sized breathing apparatus is a damn site safer than trying to give mouth-to-mouth to Rin-Tin-Tin.

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