PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Every year, tens of thousands of pets die in house fires.
Now, Animals in the City of Pittsburgh may now have a higher chance of survival, thanks to a generous donation.
When fire strikes, pets are often the victims.
Fortunately, firefighters were able to save a dog in an apartment fire in Washington County back in November.
However, not all animals are as lucky. Nearly 40,000 pets die each year in house fires with most succumbing to smoke inhalation.
That alarming statistic is what led leaders with the Invisible Fence brand to launch Project Breathe.
It’s a program that provides first responders with pet oxygen masks. Today, the masks were handed out to the City of Pittsburgh Bureau of EMS.
“When somebody is in a fire, they lose a lot of things, they lose property, they lose possessions. We want to keep something that is irreplaceable. We want to keep that cherished member of the family safe,” Becky Urbanic said.
A total of 28 masks were donated, which means every ambulance, rescue truck and district chief vehicle will be equipped.
“The human masks are molded for a person’s face, these are more sort of generic for animals. They will fit over a snout, they’ll fit on a kitten’s face and it’s going to make the delivery of oxygen more efficient. It’s just going to help an awful lot,” Paramedic Tony Konop said.
The City of Pittsburgh Paramedics weren’t just receiving a donation today. They were also making one.
They also collected pet supplies for the Animal Rescue League.
Each year, they pick an organization to help. This year, they selected the Animal Rescue League, in honor of Eddie Alexander, a long-time paramedic who passed away from cancer a year ago today.
“He was loved by everybody. He was one of those rare people that nobody has anything bad to say about. He was an animal lover, he was a volunteer dog walker, and that is Eddie’s picture right there in the middle, so we were very proud to do something in his memory,” Konop said.