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'No one wants to give mouth to mouth to a dog'

The new masks have already saved a number of pets lives Photo: Smokey Paws

The fire service in Devon and Somerset has begun using specially adapted oxygen masks to help treat family pets.

The new technology is being trialled on twelve engines across the region and has already saved lives. They've been supplied by a local vet, and now money is being raised so the equipment can be rolled out.

Firefighters say quick access to oxygen is crucial in a fire because it's actually the smoke that kills:

People become very attached to their pets, having a property fire is very traumatic at the best of times and then when pets become involved even more of an issue for their owners. The psyche of firefighters is wanting to help people so having the right equipment to be able to provide medical aid to animals means we are doing a better job for people in the community.

– Devon and Somerset Fire Service
Two day-old puppies were treated with masks in Bovey Tracey earlier this month Credit: Devon & Somerset Fire
Winnie modelling the new oxygen mask at Bridgwater Fire Station

With nearly half of us owning pets, it's not hard to see what a lifesaver the masks could be. Firefighters at Bridgwater are heralding the technology, with one exclaiming "nobody wants to do mouth to mouth to a dog or a cat in that situation".

The masks come in three sizes so that a large dog, cat, or even a tortoise can be treated. While firefighters say they know human lives always come first, they also know how important pets can be.