A common icebreaker question is “if your house was on fire and you could only grab one thing, what would it be?” The answer to this question illustrates what a person finds most dear in life.
Parents often think of their children first. Many others say their computers or some other expensive electronic device. Some say photo albums or family records since most of them are not digitized or are the only copies.
But pet owners tend to answer similarly: their pets.
In Austin, Texas, on March 3, one family put that into practice. The people got out OK, but they were concerned that their dog was still in the house.
“Sunday afternoon #ATCEMS Medic-24 (Clinical Specialist P. Riefel & Medic B. Jones) responded to a structure fire with a dog trapped inside the house,” the Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services wrote on Facebook.
Firefighters went back in to search the area and as paramedic Peter Riefel later told KVUE, “They did a clean sweep of the house and they weren’t coming out until they found that animal.”
“The Austin Fire Department and Travis County Fire Rescue ESD11 were able to rescue the dog from the house,” the Facebook post continued. “Our ATCEMS crew was able to revive the dog back to health using the pet oxygen masks that we carry on all of our ambulances!”
Sunday #ATCEMS Medic-24 responded to a structure fire with a dog trapped. AFD & TCESD11 brought the dog to our medics who revived the dog using the pet oxygen masks that we carry on all of our ambulances! Read more about the story on our Facebook page https://t.co/2jP1WkPBHA pic.twitter.com/OtyLHppGyG
— ATCEMS (@ATCEMS) March 5, 2019
“The dog (Audrey) was barely breathing as she was rescued but the mask worked amazing and saved her life. Audrey made a full recovery and was happily wagging her tail by the end of the call.”
While it didn’t look good for Audrey at first, she had multiple people helping her and her owner never left her side. Thankfully, the fire department had a pet oxygen mask, shaped to fit an animal’s face rather than a human’s.
Not every department has these kits, but they have proven to be life-saving and many groups donate them to ensure their local fire department will have one on hand for situations just like this.
Riefel said the dog coughed up a bunch of carbon mucus, but that she was doing better almost immediately.
“After she got all that out, she responded very quickly and literally two or three minutes later you couldn’t keep her down, she was up, she was going, and the owner was elated,” he said.
“Pets are part of the family,” he continued. “So we don’t really treat it any differently. We go in and it’s no different than a search and recovery on a human, you do the same thing with animals, and that’s exactly what the fire departments did.”
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