Local fire departments use new tool to save pets - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Local fire departments use new tool to save pets

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Smoke fills the sky in Fern Creek as crews battled flames at two apartment fires, nearly three weeks ago.

"I was amazed at the amount of people that were still in that apartment fire and pets," said Kevin Baynes, Highview Fire Marshall.

It was all hands on deck, with several rescues of people and pets.

Baynes said, "We were pulling full size German Shepard out of the apartments and they were in cages and there were quite a few animals, I think I might have even carried a bird out."

The leading cause of animal deaths is smoke inhalation. That's what prompted Baynes to secure a grant through Invisible Fence, and supply a pet oxygen mask kit for each Jefferson County Fire District.

"If we can get to them early enough and start oxygenating them they actually snap out of it pretty quick," said Baynes.

Highview firefighters say they deal with pets, almost as often as people.

Baynes said, "You never know really what you're going to run into when it comes to animals, I've seen snakes, iguanas, you name it."

"We've had some people say their baby is inside and they're talking about their cat or dog," said Highview Fire Chief, Dave Goldsmith.

The search and rescue progress is identical.

Goldsmith said, "Pets are like kids when they get scared a lot they go hide so we still have to search for those pets the same way we would search for kids."

Firefighters hope this kit will save more lives on the scene.

"That's a great feeling to reunite someone's pet with them after a tragic incident," said Goldsmith.

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