Albion students help buy pet oxygen masks

Maple Ridge firefighters are now some of the best equipped in Canada to save a pet’s life.

Firefighters demonstrated earlier this month at Albion elementary how the pet oxygen masks work.

Firefighters demonstrated earlier this month at Albion elementary how the pet oxygen masks work.

Maple Ridge firefighters are now some of the best equipped in Canada to save a pet’s life.

Three years ago, students at Albion elementary started fundraising to help purchase pet oxygen masks.

With help from Invisible Fence of British Columbia’s Project Breathe and the Maple Ridge Fire Department, 14 pet oxygen mask kits were donated earlier this month. That’s enough to equip every fire truck in Maple Ridge.

“These masks allow Maple Ridge firefighters to give oxygen to pets who are suffering from smoke inhalation when they are rescued from fires,” said Timo Juurakko, assistant fire chief.

“If family pets are involved in a house fire, owners are terribly stressed and tempted to run back into a burning home to try and save a pet.  It’s understandable, but extremely dangerous. These masks will give residents comfort in knowing that we can aide their pets if they are suffering from smoke inhalation after being rescued by firefighters.”

“When a family suffers the tragedy of a fire, lives are turned upside down,” said Patsy Pattison, owner of Invisible Fence British Columbia. “We realize that humans are the first-priority, but in many cases, pets can be saved if firefighters have the right equipment.”

Julie Bearpark’s Grade 4 class started the fundraising effort three years ago.

“This group of kids is really special,” she said. “They had a strong desire to raise money to help others.”