WAVERLY – The Waverly Fire and Rescue department received last month a donation that could save the lives of furry friends in times of need.
Just Wright Sharpening of Lincoln donated a Wag’n O2 Fur Life pet oxygen kit to the department in January.
“Wag’N O2 Fur Life is an educational and public safety company dedicated to providing pet oxygen masks to first responders across North America to help them save animal lives following structural fires,” said Jim Wright.
The company is donating one kit a month to volunteer departments throughout 2018. Waverly was the first on the list.
The kits include three oxygen masks, three air tubes, an instruction sheet, carrying case, kennel lead and more.
Waverly Fire Chief Ryan Mueller said the donation was much appreciated.
“This donation allows Waverly Fire and Rescue to provide oxygen therapy in the event that during a structure fire there was a family pet that had smoke inhalation,” he said.
Mueller said it’s not often they see smoke inhalation in pets, but it doesn’t hurt to have the kit.
“In my seven years with the department, I can only recall one instance that there were animals on the exterior of a home that could have been affected by smoke inhalation,” he said. “I don't know prior to being on the department if there ever were a scenario with a live rescue of a family pet.”
The masks come in three sizes, allowing them to fit on animals of many sizes.
Wright said after learning that many departments can’t use funds to pay for pet masks, he decided to help.
Mueller said pet safety should come after ensuring your own during a fire.
“The best thing for people is to ensure their safety first,” he said. “Never run after a pet in a fire. Animals when scared are hard to move and can go into hiding. If they can see them from a safe entrance, coax them out but never re-enter a burning structure.”
Mueller said donations like these help remind department members that the community is there for them.
“It is great to receive the support of everyone in the community,” he said. “It sometimes comes to a surprise as our community grows, that new families don't know that Waverly Fire and Rescue is a 100 percent volunteer department and that we don't have personnel at the station. So when we receive donations, it makes us feel that they recognize our hard work by our team and want to support them by any means possible.”
Wright said he’s looking for suggestions for the next department to receive a donation.
He also said he’s happy to donate, but hopes the masks are never needed.
“I hope you never use it,” he said he told Mueller. “But am happy you have one on hand.”