Mason County Mutts donates pet oxygen masks

Pet oxygen masks fit much like an oxygen mask fits on a human. Firefighters will use them in the event that an animal need help during a fire. (Michelle Graves/News Advocate)

Pet oxygen masks fit much like an oxygen mask fits on a human. Firefighters will use them in the event that an animal need help during a fire. (Michelle Graves/News Advocate)

MANISTEE COUNTY — Thanks to the efforts of local animal lovers, Manistee County pets are now a little safer in the event of a fire.

Representatives from Mason County Mutts presented 12 oxygen mask kits to the Manistee Fire Department on Thursday, to be distributed to each fire department in the county.

“To raise the money for Manistee (County), one of our members, Barb Cressy, did an online auction,” said Sara Lutz, president and co-founder of Mason County Mutts. “She had a friend who lost a basset hound in a fire recently, so it was kind of near and dear to her heart that she wanted to specifically raise money for this project.”

Each of the 12 pet oxygen mask kits includes a small, medium and large mask, all of which are reusable. Mason County Mutts donated the kits last week. (Michelle Graves/News Advocate)

Each of the 12 pet oxygen mask kits includes a small, medium and large mask, all of which are reusable. Mason County Mutts donated the kits last week. (Michelle Graves/News Advocate)

Lutz said that each kit costs about $100, and Michigan Power of Ludington donated half the money, which was $577.

The group now has purchased these kits for fire departments in Lake, Mason and Manistee counties.

“There’s a company called Wag’n O2 Fur Life, out of Virginia, they have a directory of all the fire departments that have them,” said Lutz. “Anybody can purchase them…if you wanted to have it at your house on your own you can have that.”

Each kit comes with a small, medium and large mask, which are reusable. They just need to be washed.

“There’s some literature, as far as how to use them, there’s some decals for the departments, if they want to put them on their trucks or hang them in their departments,” said Lutz. “There are also certificates for each department to signify that they actually do have these kits on board.”

Heath Darling, the City of Manistee Fire Department’s deputy chief, said the equipment is new to the department.

“I’m pretty sure it’s new to the county. I don’t believe that any other departments in the county have these,” he said. “They’ll be a welcome addition to our supplies for animals in addition to the people we help.”

He doesn’t anticipate needing much additional training to use the new oxygen masks.

“For the most part they’re going to function just the same as an oxygen mask that we would put on a human other than it’s designed to fit over a muzzle, so simple enough,” Darling said.

He said pets are common victims in fires.

“Hopefully we won’t need them at all, but inevitabely sooner or later we’ll run into that situation and now we’ll be a little more prepared to handle it,” Darling said. “There have been fires throughout the county where pets have been affected by smoke where certainly an oxygen mask could have helped them return to health a little bit quicker.”

Mason County Mutts, a nonprofit located in Mason County, focuses on community projects and animal welfare.

“We built the Ludington Dog Park. We’ve also worked on a project making downtown Ludington more dog friendly so you can take your pets into stores and things like that,” said Lutz.

For more information on Mason County Mutts, visit masoncountymutts.org or search Mason County Mutts on Facebook.

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Posted by Michelle Graves

Michelle is the managing editor of the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3106 or mgraves@pioneergroup.com.

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