(WBIR-Knoxville) Pets are considered members of many families, and one locally headquartered company launched a campaign to help equip firefighters with devices that can help save an animals life.
Pet oxygen masks have been around for years, but many fire departments can't afford them.
"We've just realized there's a gap in our community that we want to help fill," said Joy Sabo, with Invisible Fence.
The company's program "Project Breathe," provides oxygen masks to first responders nationwide.
Since 2007, it has donated over 10,000 kits, which come with three different sizes.
"Here in East Tennessee, we want to make a difference. What we would love to see, is to have them on every single truck out there, not just one per station," said Sabo.
Last week, a Seymour volunteer firefighter donated three masks to her department, so Invisible Fence matched the gift with three more.
"A lot of departments, especially volunteer departments, can't afford them," said Sabo. "So that was really a cool story and just the beginning of what we want to do in local communities."
The Knoxville Fire Department said it has had pet oxygen masks for several years, and uses them occasionally.
"They work basically the same as oxygen masks for humans. You have an O2 line that goes in here, and it's hooked to an O2 bottle. And you just put them over the dog's mouth. So it's just configured a little bit different," said Captain D.J. Corcoran, with KFD.
Corcoran said firefighters do their best to save pets inside of a home, and smoke inhalation can be treatable for animals.
"We do the best we can do when it comes to an animal. We have seen incidents, where after administering oxygen to an animal, that it's come through. It's made it out," said Corcoran.
For example, in November of 2011, flames ripped through Aston Apartments in East Knoxville, sending three people to the hospital. Thanks to a pet oxygen mask, crews were able to save family pets, including two cats.
In Sevier County, Tennessee, crews used to the masks to resuscitate two turtles who were burned in a cabin fire last August.
Out in Colorado, two dogs made national news headlines after Pueblo firefighters saved the animals this week.
Invisible Fence said departments benefit from the masks, which aren't just for typical pets like dogs and cats.
"The kits are $75, so a lot of departments can't afford them. That's why we want people to go to our facebook page and 'like' Invisible Fence of the Tennessee Valley," said Sabo.
For every 'like', the company will donate $1 to Project Breathe.
"That goes through May," said Sabo. "And again, for every kit someone buys, we'll match it with another. So if a fire department raises money for five kits, we'll donate five kits."