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Shropshire becomes one of first fire brigades to carry pet oxygen masks in all engines

A fire officer demonstrates a pet sized oxygen mask on a dog Credit: Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service

Fire crews in Shropshire will be equipped to help pets caught up in blazes after the service became among the in the UK to carry specially-designed oxygen masks for animals on all fire engines.

The move means that pets who breathe in smoke in house fires have a much better chance of surviving.

The first time a pet oxygen mask was used in Shropshire was to revive a cat in a house fire. Harriet, a 15-year-old tortoiseshell tabby, had fled to a bedroom as smoke from a kitchen fire filled the house.

Read more about Harriet.

Firefighters have also used the masks to revive sheep and spring lambs in Whitchurch.

Harriet the cat Credit: Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service

Shropshire fire Watch Manager Martin Huckle and support officer Emily Hodson, co-ordinated the campaign to buy the masks.

Since it was launched less than two yeas ago, 28 masks costing £90 each have been placed on all Shropshire's fire appliances, and all paid for from donations.

We've used them three times in the past 18 months.

Small animals inhale smoke four times faster than we do and can collapse very quickly. Human oxygen masks, which we used in the past, just don't fit properly and these pet sized masks are much more effective in reviving them and saving their lives.

– Watch Manager Martin Huckle
Two employees receive an award for their fundraising efforts Credit: Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service

Martin helped to co-ordinate the campaign after being contacted by Hectors Greyhound Rescue, of Gobowen, which held a charity walk to buy the first two mini oxygen masks specifically designed for cats, dogs and smaller animals.

Emily organised a bring your pet to work day to raise money for three charities, including the Smoky Paws national charity which provides the pet masks.

Martin Huckle and Emily Hodson, who both work at Shrewsbury fire HQ, have been praised for their efforts and received an award from Deputy Chief Fire Officer Dave Myers.