Cumberland Fire Dept. receives donation of pet oxygen masks
CUMBERLAND — Dogs, cats and their owners can breathe more freely now, thanks to the recent donation of 12 sets of pet oxygen masks to the town's Fire Department.
The pet oxygen masks, or POMs, were donated by Invisible Fence of Southern Maine and Cumberland Animal Control Officer Chuck Burnie, according to a press release from Cumberland firefighter Curtis Ingraham. The department received the masks in May, Ingraham said.
The 12 sets include small, medium and large masks, so that pets of different sizes can be aided. A set of masks costs $75, including shipping and handling, according to the Maine POM Project's website, themainepomproject.org.
Maine POM Project founder Bobby Silcott spoke to the Cumberland firefighters during a recent monthly dinner meeting, Ingraham said, noting that Silcott explained the challenges that fire, rescue and police departments can face in resusitating animals in emergency situations, and showed how to use the equipment on a dog.
Silcott is Naples' animal control officer and a member of that town's fire and rescue department, and would like to equip every oxygen-carrying emergency vehicle in Maine with the mask kits, according to Ingraham.
Silcott said Monday that more than 200 POM kits have been distributed. Most are in urban areas, although sets are now going to an increasing number of rural communities.
He noted the importance after the tragedy of a fire of a pet surviving, saying the animal can be an "emotional glue" that holds a family together.
As a firefighter and emergency medical technician, Silcott said, "there's nothing more we hate than not being able to help. That's what we do ... . And having that specific tool, to do that job ... it's a speciality tool for these animals."
Gary and Peggy Dellert, owners of Invisible Fence of Southern Maine and Cumberland residents, donated 10 of the sets. They have donated dozens of kits to area communities through the POM Project, according to Ingraham.
"We are in the pet business," Gary Dellert said Monday. "So we try to help out where we can. ... There are a lot of pets that are lost that could be saved, if they had the right equipment."