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‘Pawsitive’ step for pet fire safety

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) has taken a ‘pawsitive’ step for pet fire safety by preparing to equip all fire engines across the County with pet oxygen masks.

During 2016, Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service made a new friend in the form of a Tripawd Yorkshire Terrier, named Pelucchi. As well as being a long-term supporter of RBFRS’s prevention initiatives, Pelucchi and his owner, Zoe began to fundraise with a calendar to help provide RBFRS with pet oxygen masks.

The pet oxygen masks will be provided by a not-for-profit organisation called Smokey Paws, which aims to provide all UK Fire and Rescue Services with pet oxygen masks. The masks cost approximately £90 for a set of three.

Zoe Carpentier and her dog, Pelucchi have now completed the enormous task of raising enough funds to equip Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service with 21 pet oxygen masks.

They differ from human masks as they are designed to fit around an animal’s snout, making the oxygen much more concentrated when delivered to the animals in need.

Andy Fry, Chief Fire Officer for RBFRS, said: “We are delighted to receive the pet oxygen masks from Smokey Paws, courtesy of Pelucchi and his owner, Zoe Le Carpentier. We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who donated in order to provide our fire engines with this life saving equipment. We all know how much our pets mean to us and this is one of the ways that we can ensure a swift and effective response for our residents’ furry friends.”

Lincoln Ball, Station Commander at Maidenhead Fire Station who has been heavily involved in assisting Pelucchi’s fundraising activities, said: “It’s great to see the fundraising for the pet oxygen masks has come to fruition. It started with something as small as a few tweets being exchanged around fire safety and it’s great to see it turn into something tangible, should we be called to incidents where animals are in need of oxygen. Pulling together as a community is high on our agenda as a station and this really does demonstrate the power of the communities that surround us in Royal Berkshire.”

Zoe Carpentier, Mr Pelucchi’s owner, said: “I wanted to find a way to say thank you to Maidenhead Fire Station and Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service for being so welcoming towards Pelucchi.

“I have been asked a few times about a calendar of Pelucchi but I had never been able to decide on a theme or charity. I had been welcomed so warmly whilst spending time researching backdrops at Maidenhead and Whitley Wood retained recruitment days and after seeing Smokey Paws at a canine show last year and finding out that RBFRS didn’t have pet oxygen masks it all came together like a perfect fit.

“When I first set out to create the calendar I had no real understanding of a firefighter’s role or the strength of the community feel at each station. My respect and admiration for the work they do and the support they give each other has increased so much. I am humbled by the work they do and so very pleased to be able to support them in some small way.”

Lynn Carberry, Founder of Smokey Paws, said: “My husband and I started Smokey Paws – a not-for-profit organisation, giving lifesaving pet oxygen masks to UK fire services – to try and help the fire service save pets.

“The specially designed pet oxygen masks fit large dogs to small hamsters, snakes and cats. Where a human oxygen mask will give a pet around 10% oxygen, these pet masks will give the pet 90% oxygen. We were helped in our mission by great volunteers like Pelucchi to help us raise funds to donate the masks to RBFRS.”

Notes to editors 

Smokey Paws, helps give specially designed pet oxygen masks to the UK fire services.

Thanks to all the sponsors and fundraisers of the calendars to provide RBFRS with pet oxygen masks, these include: Thames Valley Printers, Dr Simon Ratcliffe from Kelperland Veterinary Centre, Berkshire College of Agriculture Animal Management, Comfy Canines, Jen Harrison, Alpha Boiler Expert, Julie the photographer.