April 27, 2017

Firefighters can now resuscitate pets

Pet supply store donates oxygen masks

By Mal Boright

Max, a 125-pound Bernese mountain dog, might someday benefit from his owner’s foresight. If not, it is almost certain that another pet will.

In the unlikely event Max is caught in a fire, the Williston Fire Department now has the equipment to him, thanks to Williston resident Katie Stevens and a donation from Pet Food Warehouse.

Stevens contacted the pet supply chain, which gave the department 10 oxygen masks, two each for five sizes for animals from hamsters to Max-sized dogs.

Williston Fire Chief Ken Morton is happy to have the masks.

“When someone comes to you with the offer of this kind of equipment, how can you say no?” he said. “Besides, I am also a pet lover.”

The idea of ensuring her local fire department had the oxygen masks occurred to Stevens when she was visiting her family outside Boston over Thanksgiving weekend. A fire had left pets dead from smoke inhalation. Media coverage pointed out that the deaths might have been prevented had masks been available to resuscitate the pets.

“When I returned here I called around to see if such masks might be available, and most places I called had never heard of them,” Stevens said.

She said that at first mention of the equipment some people laughed, but then said, “Hey, I have a dog. That is not a bad idea.”

Stevens finally found information about the masks and their availability on the Internet.

“I was all set to pay for them myself, but first I wanted to run the idea past the people at Pet Food Warehouse. They said they wanted to hear more and then they paid for them,” Stevens said.

Evan Wisell, Pet Food Warehouse marketing and advertising manager, said his company was happy to put up nearly $300 for the masks.

“At the time we didn’t know there was such equipment available,” Wissell said. He noted that a first-aid seminar for pets sponsored by the firm last year never mentioned the masks.

Morton said homeowners can make work easier for firefighters by listing their pets by name.

Any information that is communicated to us, whether it is a tot finder or a list of pets and their names is helpful,” Morton said.

Pet alert cards can by purchased at pet stores.


  1. youngvt says:

    I am writing in response to Mr. Hoxworth’s article on transportation costs for the poor in Vermont. I would like to suggest further research on this topic before we simply just give another handout or tax credit. The poor, may, have a higher disproportionate burden on their transportation costs than the wealthier residents of Vermont; however, they also have a lower disproportionate burden on taxes and housing. Pick your evil.
    We can simply just give every poor Vermonter an energy efficient car, gas card, free tuition, renter’s rebate, etc.…but the only way out of poverty is through the combination of education, hard work, and discipline. Education and degrees are not handed out or purchased; a person has to EARN them. This seems to be the only way out of poverty—sorry, there are no shortcuts.
    If we continue this trend of enabling, our entire state will be a welfare state.

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