An online fundraiser has brought in enough money to buy three emergency pet oxygen kits for the North Haven Fire Department.
The masks deliver life-saving oxygen to animals exposed to smoke and other toxins during a house fire.
Brittany Heins, of North Haven, is a marketing specialist and part-time dance teacher. She launched a GoFundMe page two weeks ago after talking to Fire Chief Paul Januszewski about the need to replace the fire department’s current pet oxygen masks.
As of Wednesday, the page has brought in $295 out of a $540 goal. That’s halfway toward purchasing six kits.
“Every few days, someone donates a little something,” Heins said, adding that she doesn’t have a definitive date to close the fundraiser. “I would really love to get to the goal.”
She said she will purchase the kits, which cost $90, from Wag'NO2 Fur Life. Each kit has a large, medium and small mask, oxygen air tubes, a carrying case and instructional materials.
With the donated kits they’ll be able to have more than one kit on fire trucks and other emergency response vehicles.
“Most people have more than one pet,” Januszewski said. “One house fire with multiple cats, you go through them pretty fast.”
The current kits have bags that are two years old and are starting to show signs of wear. Over time, the materials can deteriorate and become compromised.
“We’re always looking to replace what we have,” Januszewski said.
Heins said she was inspired by a YouTube video she saw while scrolling through Facebook. In the video, a dog is resuscitated after surviving a house fire.
“It got me,” she said, thinking of her own dog. “It really, really got me … Some people, their pets are all they have.”
She contacted Januszewski during the holidays and asked about the need for pet oxygen masks, after which she decided to raise money to buy the kits; it’s easier for the fire department to accept donations of the masks than donations of money, budgetwise, he said.