AEGIS STAFF REPORT
9:13 AM EST, February 28, 2013
Thanks to quick thinking by a Level Volunteer Fire Company firefighters and paramedics, a dog trapped in a burning house earlier this month was successfully resuscitated without a pet oxygen mask.
The incident pointed up the need for local fire companies to be equipped with such equipment, and the staff of the Humane Society of Harford County stepped up earlier this week to make a donation of an animal resuscitation mask kit to the fire company.
The donation was presented to the fire company Monday afternoon at the firehouse.
On Monday, Feb. 11, a black Labrador retriever named Chance got his second chance at life because of the quick actions of firefighters from the Level Volunteer Fire Company. A house fire was reported in the 3600 block of Aldino Road in Churchville and the lone occupant was able to escape but could not get the family dog to come with her. Despite her attempts to coax the dog out, Chance hid under a bed in the upstairs bedroom while fire and smoke filled the two story house.
When firefighters from Level Volunteer Fire Company arrived, they immediately began an aggressive attack on the fire and crews did a primary search of dwelling looking for victims. According to the fire company, Capt. Matt Orf and Sgt. Clinton Polk found the dog and quickly sprang into action. Polk carried the lifeless dog downstairs and out to the front lawn, where he began to administer fresh air from his SCBA mask while paramedics were called to assist.
"Because Pet Oxygen masks aren't carried on our apparatus, Paramedic Bill Eyler fashioned a Pet O2 mask out of a plastic Wendy's cup," Polk said in a fire company news release. "This cup fit over the dog's nose and gave him the much needed oxygen to revive him."
Photos of the rescue taken by local photographer Dean Nicewander, one which was published on the front page of the Feb. 13 edition of The Aegis, soon hit the Internet and went viral.
After reading and hearing about the fire company's efforts to save Chance, members of the Harford County Humane Society took up a collection and purchased three pet oxygen masks for the Level Volunteer Fire Company.
"What they did touched us so much," Mary Leavens, director of the Humane Society, said in a phone interview Monday. "At the Humane Society we see some of the worst cases, and we all want to give the animals the good life they deserve. When we see something like this, it makes us grateful for the help of others."
Leavens said the money for the masks – which come in small, medium and large to fit different size snouts – was donated by staff members and did not come from the Humane Society itself, a nonprofit organization that relies a great deal on donations for its own operations.
She said she does not know if other ambulance units in the county carry oxygen masks, but she noted she has heard other people in the community are thinking of making similar donations.
"These masks will be placed on our apparatus so if there is ever a need again we will be fully prepared," Level Ambulance Capt. Sandi Gallion said in a fire company news release. "It doesn't matter if it is a human or pet, we always do our Level Best when it comes to EMS care."
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