DETROIT (WWJ) – The Detroit Fire Department is adding some life saving equipment to its fleet — for animals big and small.

No matter if your pet is a 100-pound Labrador or a tiny gerbil, crews in Detroit now have a better chance of saving your pet should a fire break out, thanks to the donation of nearly 300 animal oxygen kits.

“It looks just like the mask that we have for humans only its shaped differently. And so it allows you to get a feel around the animal’s snout and mouth,” Detroit Deputy Fire Chief Gene Biondo told WWJ’s Laura Bonnell.

sipa 18815044 No Life Too Small To Save: Detroit Fire Department Now Fully Equipped With Animal Oxygen Kits

(Photo by PA Images/Sipa USA)

Biondo used to save animals without the proper mask. But with the kits, which come with multiple sized masks to help pets of all sorts breathe, crews will always have the appropriate tool for the job.

“I’ve done it with my tank and did it in a makeshift way, where this now allows us to do it the same as we do with humans — but for all different animals,” he said.

A total of 278 pet oxygen kits, which cost $330 each, were donated by Invisible Fence Brand’s Project Breathe Program. The generous gift means the department now actually has a surplus of masks.

“Every single company in the fire department will now have a kit, including the chiefs,” said Biondo. “All the companies, engines, trucks, the HAZMAT team — we now have enough to outfit them all. Plus all of the EMS rigs will have them, as well.”

At the end of the day, Biondo says no life is too small. He’s just glad they now have the ability to save pets across the city.

“This is a very important thing to a lot of people. Some people will say, ‘Oh, they saved a gerbil!’ Well to you it’s not important but to that person, that is their life,” he said.

With the donation, the Detroit Fire Department is among a small few in the nation to be fully equipped with devices needed to save pets in fires.


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