NEWBERRY COUNTY — Fire and rescue workers now have a new tool to help them with animal rescues.
Every fire and rescue department in the county has now been equipped with Wag’N O2 Fur Life Kits.
These kits contain specially designed masks that can be used on both conscious and unconscious pets suffering from smoke inhalation or exposure to toxic chemicals.
Newberry Fire Chief Keith Minick says the mask come in several different sizes and can be connected to the air packs used by fire and rescue members.
“We will be able to give the animal the attention it needs until someone can get it to a vet,” said Minick. “We are not vets.”
“Hopefully we will never have to use them,” added Newberry County Emergency Services Director Tommy Long.
He adds the fire and rescue service is not in the business to answer calls for injured pets but to help if they are involved in a fire or toxic situation where the departments have responded to.
The fire service was approached a year or so ago by residents asking if the department could administer oxygen to a cat or dog. The question rose again a few months ago.
During the discussions T. J. Dillenger and Dr. Pat Ross with Newberry Pathology asked if they couple help equip trucks with the mask.
Over the last few weeks the equipment has arrived at the stations and first responders are being trained to use them, said Long.
Veternarian and Newberry firefighter Dr. David Hurst has been training the fire and rescue members on using the new masks.
“It is a good program but we have a lot to learn,” said Minick.
The member are also excited to be able to offer the new program to the citizens.