Public support leads to donation of more than 800 pet oxygen masks to DFD

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Detroit Fire firefighters have been given new tools to save more lives, including those with 9 lives.

When responding to a house fire, firefighters want to try and save animals but didn't always have the right tool. Now, the department received more than 800 pet oxygen masks.

Deputy Chief Gene Biondo of the Detroit Fire Department said, "Animals are trapped and they rely on us to save them."

In one recent incident, Detroit firefighters performed mouth to snout CPR to save 15 puppies.

"It kind of tugs at your heart because, you stumble on them in the process of fighting the fire and you pick them up and you get them out and you try to resuscitate them. We will blow in their mouths," said Biondo.

After a public outpouring, the fire department has received 300 pet kit bags that each have three oxygen masks.

Individuals and businesses donated to the Detroit Public Safety Foundation.

Patti Kukula is the executive director of the foundation.

"Of course you want to save human lives first and forever, but our firefighters risk their lives to save the people's animals as well," she said.

"Juliet" and "Smokey" are dogs from Detroit Dog Rescue and were on hand to model the new life-saving equipment.

Biondo said, "So, you are giving them CPR, we are doing whatever we can with what we have. Well, now this will make that easier to do."

The masks fit small, medium and large animals.

"It's actually easier to do the animals than it is to do humans because it just self-seals," said Biondo.

Every rig from every fire house in the city will now be equipped to save pets and it didn't cost taxpayers a thing.

Biondo added, "This is was the public reaching out going 'we want to be involved in it. It is our money, we are going to give it to you.'"

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