By Grace Pohl
Staff Intern 

Airway Heights fire department using oxygen masks to save pets


Airway Heights fire department

Anja Dean and Don Malone sit with their station dog, Ember. The department now serves the community with oxygen masks for their pets.

The Airway Heights fire department officially has the equipment to save pets in even a better way than before with oxygen masks.

Project Breathe started in Airway Heights a few weeks ago, but has been making its way around the country for a while now. It was created by the Invisible Fence Brand's corporate office in 2005, launching in Knoxville, Tenn. The Invisible Fence Brand is a company that created the invisible fence for dogs to roam free without being able to run off from their household. So far there have been around 500 participants that span all over the country that are trained to use the oxygen masks.

"It is our way of giving back to the community," Heather Micek, a representative from Invisible Fence Brand Inland Northwest said. "It is a way to keep animals and customers safe."

In the two and half years it's been around in the Inland Northwest, about 40 kits have been given to fire departments in North Idaho and Eastern Washington. The kits include three different sizes for to be used on animals.

Overall, there has been 6,802 kits donated which equals 20,406 masks. The recorded amount of known pet lives saved is 182.

"Our goal is to have anyone and everyone use them," Micek said. "I just want to get the word out. It is a great program and it is mainly by big project. I try to get out to all the small fire departments. I want to make it accessible to everyone."

Airway Heights got involved by submitting a form on the website saying that they were interested in the project.

"One of the volunteers thought it would be good information and we were given training on it," Don Malone, a firefighter at the Airway Heights station said. "We heard about it on the news and we thought it was a good opportunity. We are looking at different ways to help and service our community the best way possible."

The firefighters in Airway Heights were trained on how to use the masks by demonstrations on their station dog. The department has been equipped with the kits for a couple weeks now and will continue to be able to use it.

Grace Pohl can be reached at


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