Pet oxygen masks are to be carried by all fire engines in Brighton and Hove thanks to two animal charities.
The RSPCA and Smokey Paws have joined forces to ensure more animal lives are saved by paying for one specialist animal oxygen kit for every fire engine in the area.
The donors hope to extend the scheme nationally in time so that any pet anywhere in Britain can receive the best help if caught in a fire.
Brian Lockyer, from Smokey Paws, explained: “With 46 per cent of UK households having pets and over 40,000 house fires a year in the UK, pets can tragically often become the victims of smoke inhalation and poisoning.
“If oxygen is available at the scene, it should be provided to the pet.
“Specially designed pet oxygen masks are more effective on pets than the human masks often used to try to revive pets by first responders.
“Our mission is to equip every fire engine in the UK with these life-saving pet oxygen masks.”
East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service operations manager Matthew Elder said: “The Smokey Paws Animal Oxygen Therapy Kit is used in the resuscitation of animals rescued from fires or who are in need of oxygen, following respiratory damage through smoke inhalation.
“Occasionally we see pets suffer from the detrimental effects of fire, leaving owners devastated, and this additional piece of equipment means that we can help to revive pets in those crucial moments following a fire.
“We have found that it can be difficult to revive a pet with a human-style oxygen mask but this piece of equipment will assist us as it is specifically designed to fit around muzzles rather than a human nose and mouth.
“For many residents in our service area pets are part of the family and we feel that it is our duty to rescue animals and give them the best chance of survival, which we hope this new piece of kit will give us the ability to do.”
RSPCA animal welfare expert Samantha Gaines said: “The fire and rescue services in this country do a wonderful job.
“We’d like to help them not only save the lives of people but also of beloved pets who can be caught up in devastating and terrifying fires.”
Dr Gaines added: “By providing one special animal oxygen kit for each fire engine in the country, we hope to enable our brave and heroic firefighters to save even more lives.”