WEST VALLEY CITY – October 13, 2015 (Gephardt Daily) – The West Valley City fire department is now deploying pet rescue kits on each of its front line fire engines and trucks. These kits will allow rescue crews to supplement oxygen for an animal suffering from smoke inhalation.
Each WVCFD member wishing to advance to the rank of senior firefighter is required to complete a senior project that benefits the department and the community. For his project, firefighter Tyson Swayt worked to make pet rescue kits part of the standard equipment for the WVCFD.
“We had worked on several house fires recently where animals were involved,” said Swayt. “These fires are very stressful for the people involved and when their pet is injured, it adds to the stress. If we can help a person’s pet, we can help ease their mind during a very difficult time.”
Swayt contacted multiple animal hospitals in an effort to obtain the pet rescue equipment. Cottonwood Animal Hospital immediately responded and offered to donate the kits to the WVCFD. The kits include oxygen masks in two sizes to accommodate most pets, and Cottonwood Animal Hospital also equipped the kits with animal rescue first aid equipment as well as a field guide, which provides instruction on how to help a pet in a variety of emergency situations. Each of these kits costs several hundred dollars. WVCFD now has five kits deployed; one for each of the fire stations.
Swayt added: “I think a lot of people can relate to animals and really love animals. It got me thinking, what can we do to increase the chance of animals surviving? Now what we can do is use animal-specific equipment and give them the best outcome possible. I think it’s always good to be more prepared, it’s a great service we can provide to the people, I look at it like, if that happened to me, how would I want the fire department to handle it and I think that’s a great thing.”