Whitehurst says the donation spawned a major effort by the local fire department to care for pets who are injured in fires or car accidents when the department is called to a scene. Manatee County has 40 fire trucks and now "every fire truck in East Manatee County carries oxygen masks for dogs," Whitehurst says. "In fact, there are three sizes for canines. So we can provide oxygen to all size dogs in a fire." (Whitehurst explains that because cats don't have snouts, they can actually be administered human oxygen masks.)
"On the fire side," Whitehurst says, "the most important thing we can do for an animal if it has smoke inhalation is to provide oxygen."
And although the department, equipment-wise, is really only armed with oxygen masks, "there are common sense things we can do," says Whitehurst. "Quite honestly, we will focus on the human patient first, but if we can deal with the animal and, say, it is shot and there is bleeding, that requires the same science as if the animal were a person." However, adds Whitehurst, "doggy CPR is different than human CPR, and there needs to be training on that."