The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


January 28, 2014

Ambulance service gets oxygen masks for pets

— DANVILLE — Ambulance personnel will have two more tools to help save lives.

The Danville Ambulance Service has received two sets of animal rescue oxygen kits from Invisible Fence of Northeast Pennsylvania.

Company owner Shawn Prohaska, of Mountaintop, demonstrated the use of an oxygen mask by sliding it over the snout of Diesel, a 2-year-old pit bull mix owned by a friend of Paige Visneski, an emergency medical technician with the ambulance service.

Ambulance personnel and firefighters attended the demonstration hosted by the ambulance service.

Prohaska donated the two kits Tuesday after being contacted by ambulance service EMT Dawn Koons-Gill.

Gill said the donation didn’t relate directly to a cat she and firefighter Aaron Roberts were unsuccessful in saving during a recent house fire on Spruce Street. Roberts blew into the mouth of the animal, and Gill did compressions on the cat.

With one of the kits, she said, they may have been able to help the feline.

“You never really know and can’t predict in this job,” she said.

The owner of Invisible Fence for 21 years and a volunteer firefighter for 33 years, Prohasha said his corporation has given away the Project Breathe mask sets for 1 1/2 years. Project Breathe is an effort to equip emergency responders in the U.S. and Canada.

The donations are being made to give ambulances and fire departments “the opportunity to save animals,” he said.

Other units have been given to emergency responders in the Mountaintop area.

Although the number of pets that die in fires isn’t an official statistic of the U.S. Fire Administration, industry websites and sources estimate 40,000 to 150,000 pets die each year in fires with most overcome from smoke inhalation. Emergency responders in most states don’t have these specially designed and potentially lifesaving animal oxygen mask sets, according to Invisible Fence.

Each of the kits given to the Danville Ambulance Service contains three sizes of oxygen masks for a large dog, puppies, cats and kittens, an instruction sheet for training, a leash to hold onto the animal and a sticker so emergency personnel know where the red bag containing the kit is in a vehicle.

Gill said a kit will be placed in the ambulance service’s two main mobile intensive care-advanced life support units.

“It’s a very simple and easy kit to use. It is washable and reusable,” Prohaska said.

He said he has donated 15 units in the past eight months with a recent presentation in the Poconos after two dogs had been killed in a fire.

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