North Tahoe woman donates pet oxygen masks to local fire district | SierraSun.com

North Tahoe woman donates pet oxygen masks to local fire district

Jason Shueh
Sierra Sun

Jason Shueh/Sierra Sun Marian Jordan stands by North Tahoe Fire Protection District firefighter/paramedic Steve Atkins, left, firefighter Rusty Lindsey and Sophie, the districtand#8217;s official fire dog. Marian has donated two sets of pet-fitted oxygen masks to the fire district. After the masks are tested during training she hopes to put a set on each truck in the districtand#8217;s six fire stations.

KINGS BEACH, Calif. and#8212; Holiday presents can come in all shapes and sizes and#8212; even if you happen to walk on all fours.

Just ask the North Tahoe Fire Protection District, which recently received six oxygen masks sized specifically for dogs and cats.

Marian Jordan, a Kings Beach resident and longtime animal lover, approached Chief Duane Whitelaw about what it would take to outfit fire trucks with the masks after watching a morning television program in which the masks were featured.

and#8220;Itand#8217;s something we have talked about in the district, but when Marian decided to talk to Chief Whitelaw, we made it happen,and#8221; said Dave Zaski, NTFPD public information officer.

Whitelaw organized a pilot program, in which she donated the masks at the fire districtand#8217;s Tahoe City and Kings Beach stations. If the added equipment functions well, Jordan said she plans to help outfit all of the six fire stations within the district. The additional equipment would provide the districtand#8217;s 20,000-plus residents emergency aid for their pets. They cost about $70, Jordan said.

Zaski said many times in the past the fire district has had to provide oxygen masks for pets and was forced to adjust adult masks to fit an animal.

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and#8220;Now they fit perfectly,and#8221; Zaski said. and#8220;It gives us the opportunity to resuscitate dogs and cats if theyand#8217;re in a smoke filled environment.and#8221;

According to Bark 10-4, a national campaign to outfit fire departments with pet oxygen masks, 40,000 pets each year die of smoke asphyxiation, and more than 500,000 pets each year are affected by fires.

and#8220;For many people, our animals are like our children, and any equipment that saves their lives is important.and#8221; Jordan said.

Dawn Armstrong, executive director of Lake Tahoe Humane Society and Lake Tahoe Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said the masks will be a defining addition for the fire district.

and#8220;If you can give somebody a tool, if they can, theyand#8217;re going to use it,and#8221; Armstrong said.

In the past, Armstrong said firefighters havenand#8217;t had the same opportunities to give aid simply because of funding. In the nationand#8217;s current state of economic recovery, Armstrong said donations like Jordanand#8217;s become even more important.

and#8220;People have just, generally, become more aware of helping pets and with that added awareness firefighters can have better tools to do their job,and#8221; she said.