NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The New Brunswick Fire Department recently received a donation of six sets of specially designed oxygen masks for pets from a Connecticut-based pet product company.

The kits are being deployed across the department’s six primary response units and all first responders have been trained on how to use the masks so they are able to resuscitate family pets on the scene of a fire or other household emergency, according to a press release from Canine Company.

Pets are at special risk during a home fire because they are unable to leave the house without help. An estimated 40,000 pets die from smoke inhalation across the United States each year, the company said.

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The cone-shaped masks are designed specifically for a pet’s snout, which human masks don’t fit. Each set includes masks in three sizes to accommodate pets from small mammals to giant breed dogs.

At least 14 pets’ lives, including four pets in New Jersey, have been saved so far this year by first responders using the donated masks, the company said.

“We thank these first responders for caring about the well being of family pets and are happy to provide these mask kits to them,” said Renee Coughlin of Canine Company. “Our company mission is to help families keep their pets healthy, safe and happy at home. We do that with our products and services, like Invisible Fence systems and Manners training, but also with this important charitable program.”

Over the past decade, Canine Company has donated masks to first responders in more than 550 communities across New England, New York and New Jersey. Other Middlesex County first responders that have requested and received mask donations include the Helmetta Fire Department, the Hopelawn Fire Department, the Madison First Aid Squad in Parlin, the Milltown Rescue Squad, the Morgan First Aid Squad in South Amboy, the Spotswood Fire Department, and Arbor Hose & Rescue in Piscataway.

Lieutenant Alex Eristavi, who oversees the fire Ddpartment’s medical equipment, said in a statement released by the city, “We are proud to add this equipment and training to our existing resources. We recognize that many residents consider pets part of their family, and will do our best to offer assistance to pets affected by fire incidents.”

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Erstavi said the company’s grant program was brought to the department’s attention by Jessica Newcomb, a New Brunswick resident and local nurse.

“Without cost to our taxpayers,” Eristavi said, “we now have six of our front-line units equipped. We are thankful to add another new resource to our department’s expanding capabilities.”