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Fire station gets oxygen masks to help save pets’ lives

Pheona Horne, Loki the dog, Lerwick station manager Graham Reid and Tricia Brown. Photo: Chris Brown.

LERWICK has become the first Scottish islands fire station to receive a set of oxygen masks specifically designed for using with animals.

The “Smokey Paws” masks are coming to the town’s Scottish Fire & Rescue Service (SFRS) station thanks to the fundraising efforts of friends Tricia Brown and Pheona Home.

Local construction company DITT has also kindly sponsored a second set of masks, which will be donated to Scalloway Fire Station, and further sets of masks have been ordered for the stations in Brae and Bixter.

Tricia said: “Pheona and I have been going to car boot sales for years and have made donations to a number of animal charities. When I read about Smokey Paws back in early 2016, I thought it was a really good cause and was keen to try and secure sets of masks for the 16 fire engines in Shetland.

“Smokey Paws is a ‘not for profit’ organisation that was set up in England in April 2015 by Brian and Lynn Lockyer with the aim of providing sets of three different-sized oxygen masks designed specifically for use with animals, to fire brigades and first responders in the UK.”

Smokey Paws is keen for local groups and businesses to join in and provide sponsorship. Each set of masks costs £90, which they describe as “nothing compared to the heartache of losing a beloved pet or working animal in a fire”.

The masks have been used to resuscitate all sizes of animals, including guinea pigs, snakes, a horse and even a ewe and newborn lambs after a barn fire in England.

Lerwick Fire Station manager Graham Reid said: “We are delighted that Tricia and Pheona have so kindly decided to raise the funds, to put these excellent pieces of kit onto SFRS fire appliances here in Shetland.

“The equipment works in conjunction with the oxygen resuscitation equipment we already carry on our fire appliances. Having this additional equipment means we can now use our O2 equipment to resuscitate a wide range of animals if the need arises.

“From my own personal experience as an operational fire officer, I have seen how valuable oxygen therapy equipment can be in reviving both people and animals, having used it on cats, dogs, birds and even a tortoise to great effect.

“The effects of smoke inhalation can have devastating effects during and after a fire, which is why I would urge everybody to ensure they have working smoke alarms in their property and to always ensure that all doors are closed when going to bed at night to prevent the spread of smoke and fire, should the unthinkable happen.”

Graham added his “sincerest gratitude” to Tricia, Pheona and DITT for ensuring the equipment is now available for use in the islands.

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