Posted on Wednesday, Mar. 4, 2020 at 10:34 am
The Madison Fire Department is now equipped with two sets of new pet oxygen masks thanks to an ambitious 11-year-old animal lover.
Finn Sullivan of DeForest, WI is on a mission to make sure every fire department in Wisconsin is equipped with these specialized masks. In January, he sent a letter to Madison Fire Chief Steven Davis explaining his goal.
"I learned that over 40,000 pets die in fires every year. That made me sad,” Sullivan wrote. “What if I could help make sure every Fire Department in Wisconsin has pet oxygen masks? I told my mom my goal, and she said with a little work anything is possible.”
In years past, the MFD carried pet oxygen masks on City ambulances, but over time those masks expired and were never replaced. The Madison Fire Department’s EMS Training Division had been researching new pet oxygen products for the department. It was Sullivan’s letter that propelled the MFD to make a purchase now.
The new set of Wag’n O2 Fur Life oxygen masks is billed to accommodate “any animal species from the size of a mouse to a newborn horse” and is compatible with the department’s existing oxygen systems.
Sullivan, who just turned 11 years old last week, was invited to Fire Station 1 to officially place the masks into service on Command Car 31, which responds to all structure fires in the City of Madison.
“We’ll challenge all other departments in Dane County to outfit their department with these masks,” Fire Chief Steven Davis told local media with Sullivan standing by his side. Davis went on to explain that saving pets is a high priority for the fire department.
“It’s not uncommon for people to fall victim [to a fire] because they’ve gone back into their home to try to save their pet,” Davis explained. “Let us save your pet for you.”
Knowing he made a difference in Madison, Sullivan is emboldened to carry on his quest. He has contacted over 700 departments to find out if they have pet oxygen masks, and he will follow up with each one until he knows they're equipped to help the animals in their community.
“I will not stop until my work is done,” he said.
You can follow his progress on his Facebook page, Best Friends Breathe.