New masks to save all creatures great and small

Bishopbriggs Fire Station - firefighter Alan Rutherford and Ron Ewing from Smoky Paws with dog Katie wearing one of the masks.
Bishopbriggs Fire Station - firefighter Alan Rutherford and Ron Ewing from Smoky Paws with dog Katie wearing one of the masks.

Three East Dunbartonshire fire stations have been given special new equipment which can be used to save a family’s much loved pet in a house fire.

Kirkintilloch and District Dog Training Club raised funds to buy a specially designed oxygen resuscitation kit from the organisation Smokey Paws and this was presented to Kirkintilloch fire station in January this year.

The same equipment was also presented to Bishopbriggs and Milngavie fire stations last week.

These oxygen masks, which come in three sizes, can be used to resuscitate pets when they get overcome by fumes in a fire because normal ‘human’ style masks are not suited to animals.

The largest mask can be used for dogs with bigger faces such Rotweillers or Great Danes.

The medium mask is suitable for smaller dogs such as collies, spaniels and cats and the small one can be used for small furry animals such as rabbits.

The Smokey Paws scheme started in Bristol in 2015 and Ron Ewing, a fire safety consultant, and his wife Carol launched the scheme in Scotland a year later.

They set up a formal partnership with Scottish Fire and Rescue Service last June.

Ron, co-ordinator of Smokey Paws Scotland, is an animal lover himself with two Rotweillers of his own.

He said: “Smoke inhalation is the primary cause of deaths in fires.

“Forty six per cent of households in the UK have pets and with over 40,000 house fires year, it’s an unfortunte fact that pets die from smoke inhalation.

“It is my goal that every fire appliance in Scotland is equipped with these specially designed oxygen masks, to reduce the number of domestic pet deaths which occur as a result of smoke inhalation.

“These masks are proven to save pets, and you never know, the next pet saved could be yours.

“Doesn’t every pet deserve the best chance of survival?”

Smokey Paws totally depends on donations to fund the kits for fire stations across Scotland.

The equipment comes with a lifetime warranty which means that any parts that are damaged or lost will be replaced.

Ron added: “People are blown away by the whole idea.

“Firefighters think it’s wonderful that people don’t have to watch their pets die in a fire - they can be rescued.

“We’ve sent kits as far away as John O’ Groats but it’s imperitave that we contune to get donations to fund this scheme.

“We are eternally grateful to everyone who helps us including Kirkintilloch and District Dog Training Club.”

Visit www.smokeypaws.co.uk if you’d like to donate.