LEWISTOWN - Fame EMS has implemented a new program aimed at helping animals that suffer from smoke inhalation, the first in Mifflin County to do so.
According to the Ohio Veterinary Association, an estimated 40,000 pets die of smoke inhalation each year. Fame EMS, in Lewistown, is now taking part in Air For Paws, to try and start reducing that number. Air For Paws is a non-profit organization, established in 2009, that equips emergency services with animal resuscitation kits.
Assistant Deputy Chief Mick Abrashoff has nothing but praises for the program.
Sentinel photo by BUFFIE BOYER
Fame EMS Chief Pat Shoop, right, demonstrates how the new Air for Paws apparatus works on his dog, Callie, while Bruce Mann assists Thursday in Lewistown.
"One of the things that is great about this program is that we get these kits for free, and all we have to do is ask for them. They distribute them to fire departments and ambulance services throughout the United States for nothing," he said.
Abrashoff also said it was very simple to become a part of the program.
"You just notify [Air For Paws] that you want [resuscitation kits] for your rescue squad and ambulance service and they send them to you," he said.
The kits come with a black carrier bag with white paw prints, a large ventilation mask, a small ventilation mask, a training DVD, and instruction cards. Every rig in Fame EMS is now equipped with one of the kits.
Patrick Shoop, Chief of Fame EMS, said he likes the program because now they are able to better help animals that are victims of fires.
"This was just something we thought would be the right thing to do. If we encounter a dog that has got smoke or something there is something we can do for it," he said.
The program was started by Terry Moriyama, of California, in memory of her dogs Sammi and Nikki. Abrashoff said pets are really important to people and should be looked after.
"The pets are their family. If it is practical, and after we get all the people out of the house, we try and help them (the pets) anyway we can," he said.
Arbashoff also urges pets owners to do their part for Air For Paws.
"They do accept donations from pet owners, so they can keep this program going along," he said.
According to the Air For Paws website, each animal resuscitation kit costs $100 and donations to the program can be given through the website at www.airforpaws.com/donate.