Lake County Pet Oxygen Masks

CLERMONT — The Orlando Cat Café, known for its Minch coffee and tea in a cafe filled with adoptable kittens and cats, recognized National Pet Fire Safety Day on Thursday in a very unique and special way.

Sandy Cagan, the founder of the cafe at  532 Cagan Park Ave. in Four Corners, presented the third annual donation of pet oxygen masks to Lake County Fire Rescue as a way of bringing recognition to National–Pet Fire Safety Day, held every July 15 to inform pet owners about how to keep animals safe during fires, and to raise awareness of how cats can accidentally start house fires. 

What is National Pet Fire Safety Day?

The American Kennel Club and ADT Security Services established this day to put the spotlight on protecting pets and maintaining their safety in the event of a fire.The American Red Cross has recommended including your pets in a family evacuation plan while also adding pet supplies to all disaster preparedness kits.  

Cagan noted that they make the donation of pet oxygen masks for a simple reason: they’re needed at a time when thousands of pets get killed in fires every year.

“The pet oxygen mask donation to Lake County Fire Rescue has become one of my most favorite and meaningful annual events,” she said. “Sadly, over 40,000 pets die in fires annually, and pet oxygen masks can make the difference between life and death in those cases. We are proud to provide this lifesaving equipment to Lake County, even it helps just one dog or cat survive the unthinkable tragedy of a fire.”

There was a devastating fire tragedy in neighboring Orange County on Sept. 15 2021 when a blaze at the Orange County Animal Services shelter killed 17 cats. The Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando believes the fire was electrical and started in the public clinic area of the facility off Conroy Road, where the destruction was so bad that the roof caved in. Despite the devastating fire, 45 cats and 26 dogs were saved that night. 

Since then, Pet Alliance has been accepting donations and supplies to help get a new shelter.

How Will the Pet Oxygen Masks Be Used?

Jim Dickerson, Fire Chief of Lake County Fire Rescue, noted that the National Fire Protection Association advises that in the event of a fire, residents should not go back inside for their pets.

Instead, he urged people to quickly tell firefighters that a pet is trapped inside, since they’re fully trained to conduct a thorough search and safely remove the pet from the fire before initiating treatment.

“Pet oxygen masks allow for better treatment and oxygenation of pets following the dangerous effects of smoke inhalation,” Dickerson said. “These masks are essential equipment that have allowed our firefighters the ability to resuscitate and save pets, and we cannot thank the Orlando Cat Café enough for their continued support.”

To learn more about pet safety during fires, visit Lake County Fire Rescue Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/LakeCountyFireRescue and Twitter page at https://twitter.com/LakeFirePIO.

The Orlando Cat Café partnered with SPCA Florida and Minch Coffee to open this unique cafe in Cagan Crossings. The café bills itself as “both a cozy coffeehouse with comfortable furniture, premium coffee, tea and pastries, and 12 to 15 cats roaming freely in the spacious 1,000 square foot Cat Play Area/Adoption Area. For a small entry fee, guests can bring their beverage and food and pet and cuddle all of our feline residents. But if you want to grab your coffee and go, that’s fine as well.”

Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright, and author of the book When I Woke Up, You Were All Dead. Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com.

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