First responder instructor

First responder instructor

Castlegar fire department better equipped for pet rescues

New equipment donation provided for administering oxygen to animals.

Castlegar firefighters had a a furry visitor to the station on Monday, March 10, 2013; no, it wasn’t a dalmatian.

The visitor was Marty, an incredibly patient golden lab, who played the part of a stricken victim perfectly.

Capt. Brad Makortoff, first responder instructor, demonstrated the proper use of new equipment that could save the life of dogs, cats, guinea pigs, birds or other creatures humans have as pets.

Fire Chief Gerry Rempel said the department appreciates the donation of Wag’N O2 Fur Life® equipment — for administering oxygen to animals — from One of the Fam Pet Care of Cranbrook, B.C.

The kit includes face masks for various sizes of pets, a storage bag which can double as a transport method for scared pets, a training video, leash, first responder forms, flow-rate sheets (for the oxygen) and decals for the firetrucks.

Rempel said his crews have attended incidents where pets have been in distress from smoke inhalation and the new equipment would be put to good use.

Makortoff led the firefighters through a training programme for about an hour, which included video and hands-on practical work involving pet CPR with Marty.

The firefighters were keen students, with many asking questions such as the proper amount of oxygen to dispense and the best way to give CPR to small animals.