By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest
Fires are some of the most devastating emergencies that can happen. Not only are they particularly frightening when they strike, but they take everything in their path leaving a family without a home, family heirlooms, and sometimes take with it the family pets. One of the worst parts of fires is that they’re largely preventable both by exerting good fire safety habits and by including a smoke detector in a home. Despite the best efforts of emergency management, fires still break out in homes and have a devastating effect.
While fires are nothing short of heartbreaking, one of the worst effects of a fire is losing a family pet. Ambulances across the country have started carrying oxygen masks specifically for animals to help revive them in emergency situations. This is a new innovative piece of equipment that doesn’t take a lot of training for any emergency personnel to use. Further, it also condenses resources since veterinarians are not necessarily needed on scene to assist in these types of emergencies. Putting oxygen masks on ambulances are also an excellent means of public relations for Emergency Medical Services and Fire Departments.
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Budget-wise, it doesn’t cost a lot to have oxygen masks on ambulances. Oxygen masks for animals are relatively inexpensive. One company advertises that their oxygen masks are about $79.55 – and can be reusable if cleaned appropriately. Animals that need oxygen because of smoke inhalation doesn’t happen all that offen making the overall costs associated with oxygen masks relatively affordable.
Veterinarians are not always available in a mobile unit. Further, most Emergency Medical Services agencies are not staffed with veterinarians. Only in some circumstances will emergency managers deploy a veterinary team to assist in an animal-related emergency. Thus, oxygen masks on ambulances are a very small measure emergency agencies can take to assist with animal-related emergencies before veterinarians are deployed – or, when they cannot be deployed because of resource management issues.
Having oxygen masks on ambulances for animals is not only a good idea for certain emergencies, but it also provides emergency agencies with the opportunity to create a great public image. Having oxygen masks on ambulances is not only animal friendly, but also makes the community feel as though emergency agencies are more welcoming, especially through educational programs that touch on emergency prevention.
Oxygen masks are sweeping across the country with many ambulance companies including them on their trucks. Ultimately, it is a new innovative measure helping to save lives.