LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – It’s not just emergency crews and first responders who need special gear to get out of a fire safe and sound.
In many cases, our furry friends need oxygen masks too.
“We have a passion to save as many lives as we can,” says Kristen McCready, seven-year volunteer of the Out of the Woods Animal Rescue of Arkansas.
Out of the Woods Animal Rescue of Arkansas is a local nonprofit dedicated to preserving the happiness and sanctity of animals, according to their website.
McCready says when they found out the local fire department might have a need for animal oxygen masks they were quick to answer the call.
“We had a conversation with the fire department and although they already had animal oxygen masks they weren’t the newest,” explains McCready. “The kits have three sizes in them.”
The new kits will have different masks that will be able to accommodate any pet – from a tiny kitten to a 150-pound Great Dane.
Melissa Peabody, a firefighter with the Little Rock Fire Department says the donation was both a surprise and gift that the entire department is grateful for.
“For them to donate 33 of them. They go on each fire truck in the city,” says Peabody. “We all have them so we can use them. It’s just something pretty special.”
McCready says the idea stemmed from one of their donors hearing about a fireman giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a baby kitten.
“Although this is wonderful to think about, we also want to make sure they have the tools necessary,” says McCready.
The oxygen kits are valued at around sixty-five dollars each and all cost were been covered by the nonprofit. The masks are made of hard plastic and have a five-year warranty.
“We’re not stopping there,” says McCready. “We want to reach out to more fire departments and even some rural areas where we have volunteer firefighters.”
McCready says the organization has a goal to reach every fire department throughout the state.
“I’ve gotten calls from fire departments outside of Arkansas asking me how we raised the funds and what brand of masks we went with,” explains McCready. “This is great to be able to get the message out there because we are trying to save lives.”
The organization is continuously raising funds. Members of the organization are huge contributors of the funds raised with many reaching out to local sponsors who help donate additionally funds for the cause.
For more information on how you can help, Click here.