Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) responded to a small fire in a ground floor kitchen in Sheppey last night, (Tuesday) that left two family pets needing oxygen therapy.
Fortunately, for the two Chihuahuas, KFRS had just received two purpose-designed pet oxygen masks, one for each of the fire engines at Sheppey fire station, thanks to the generosity of the local Round Table and these were put to good use.
Firefighters were alerted to the incident in Medway Road, Sheerness at around 7.12pm after a neighbour heard the smoke alarm sounding, smelt smoke and went to investigate. He found a chip pan smouldering on the hob and took it outside where it ignited once in the fresh air.
Two fire engines were sent to the house, the first arriving within four minutes of receiving the 999 call. Crew Manager Mark Skinner said: "On route to the house we were told by our emergency control room staffthat the resident had returned home. Concerned for the safety of her dogs she had gone into her home to find them. But when we arrived she was outside with the pets.
"We used a fire blanket to smother the small chip pan fire and were able to treat both dogs simultaneously using our new pet oxygen masks."
The fire is believed to have been caused by one of the pets jumping up onto the halogen hob, accidentally switching it on. The kitchen had light smoke damage.
Mark added: "Pets are curious so if you know there is a chance they may jump on cookers, please always switch them off at the wall and never leave them alone near open flames. The best way to protect your family and pets from fires is to include them in your family escape plan.
"Rather than going into a burning building, try calling your pets to get them to leave the house without you having to go inside. When you leave pets alone, try to keep them near the entrance of your home as this will help fire crews if they have to rescue them. You could also leave leashes and crates at the ready as this will help us get them out of the home quickly."
Notes to editors:
The pet oxygen masks are provided by not-for-profit organisation, Smokey Paws, thanks to a variety of sponsorship from public donations, company sponsorship and other organisations
A full set of masks cost £90 but people can give what they can - every penny counts towards providing this life-saving equipment for pets