Firefighters use pet oxygen mask to save cat's life


A specially designed pet oxygen mask has been used to help save a cat that was rescued from a house fire in London.

Donated by non-profit organisation Smokey Paws, the masks are designed to fit around pets’ snouts, giving them as much oxygen as possible. They can be used on dogs and cats as well as smaller animals like rabbits, snakes and mice.

Without this specialist kit, firefighters have to improvise to help revive animals that have inhaled smoke.

Smokey Paws recently donated equipment including three sizes of domestic pet oxygen therapy masks, together with two rope leads and two sizes of muzzle, to London Fire Brigade.

Last month, a cat rescued from a house fire in Paddington became the first pet in London to benefit from the donation. Firefighters rescued two cats, and one was given oxygen using one of the new masks.

Cat with vet

“Of course a firefighter’s priority is always to save any human life, but we know how precious people’s pets are to them and we also know owners will put their own lives at risk by trying to return to a burning building to rescue them,” said Dave O’Neill, the Brigade’s Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Operational Policy.

“We know there’s been an increase in people getting pets during the pandemic and we are likely to see more animals involved in incidents, so we needed to improve our ability to respond appropriately.”

Station Officer Nathan Beeby, who was at the scene, added: “Having something specially designed made so much difference as the mask is properly sealed around the animal’s muzzle and all the oxygen is going into their lungs.

“The crews all thought it was a great piece of equipment that was easy to use with the training they had all had, quick to get to work with and ultimately saved the cat’s life.”

Initially the masks will be carried on fire engines in Battersea, Paddington, Richmond and Hammersmith as part of a pilot scheme. If the trial is a success, the kits will be rolled out to stations across London.

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