Every fire department in Carbon County can now carry animal oxygen masks on their apparatus.
Last night, Mahoning Valley Lions Club donated 10 mask kits to the Carbon Animal Rescue Team (CART) in honor of Dr. Mary Lombardo, owner of Mahoning Valley Animal Hospital, in memory of her dog "Grace."
Diane Sharpless, coordinator for CART, said her team already had 12 kits. The additional masks mean that there are now enough to equip all fire departments in the county.
Sharpless explained that each kit has three masks, a large, a medium, and a small. They can be used by firefighters at emergency scenes to administer oxygen to pets at the scenes of emergencies, such as at fires where the pets might suffer from smoke inhalation.
"This really, really means a lot for our CART team," she told the approximately 50 people who attended a program by the Lions last night in the Mahoning Valley Ambulance Building.
The CART official said the masks are placed over the animal's snout. She said such masks saved the lives of some dogs several years ago at a kennel fire in Franklin Township.
CART announced in July 2010 its start of a campaign to purchase the oxygen masks.
Thomas Zimmerman IV, president of the Lions, said the money for six of the masks was raised by the Lions selling food at the club's recent Polka for Pets event at the Community Grove in Lehighton.
Jane Longazel and Marianne Dwyer, Lions members, said $450 was raised at the polka event. Zimmerman said the Lions are donating the additional $300 to pay for the masks.
Also at the meeting, member Jim Koons was awarded a "membership key" for getting new club members.
Zimmerman said an ice cream social held recently at Normal Square pavilion was a huge success. He said another will be held on Aug. 21.