ELIZABETH TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — The Blaine Hill Volunteer Fire Company in Elizabeth Township is very proud of its community-oriented fire protection, and now that protection is no longer limited to just helping humans.

Dogs are big part of the family for millions of Americans.

“Our concern about our residents is before, during and after the emergency, and with the family pet being such a dynamic in the family, we thought it was important to take care of the entire family,” said Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Volpe.

So does the Invisible Fence Company.

They have donated more than 10,000 pet CPR masks to fire companies across the country, including the units to the Blaine Hill Volunteer Fire Company.

“We donate pet oxygen masks all across the nation and Canada so that fire companies and first responders are equipped with the ability to save pets, give them oxygen at the scene of fires or whatever crisis that they are in,” said Becky Urbanic, a dog trainer with the Invisible Fence Company.

Firefighters were trained on how to use the oxygen masks for pets, and a local veterinarian worked with them on basic pet life-saving skills.

“We have seen other organizations use them successfully, and it’s our thinking that we will be able to use them successfully as well,” said Volpe.

“Forty-thousand pets a year passed away because of smoke inhalation, because of house fires — things like that,” said Urbanic. “We really wanted to do something about that and that is just what is reported.

Urbanic says that for families that lose everything in a fire, knowing their pets were saved can make it easier to deal with the fire.

“It’s always great to know that you have your friend. Pets have become our best friends,” she added. “They become our family members. So to have to deal with that loss along with material items, it’s really difficult.”

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