Sister Lakes Volunteer Fire Department

Sister Lakes, Michigan - (June 26, 2014) – Today, firefighters of Sister Lakes Fire Department will become some of the best-equipped in the nation to save a pet’s life. That’s because Dr. David Visser of Center for Animal Health in Edwardsburg, Michigan, and the Invisible Fence Company of Southwest Michigan are donating a total of four pet oxygen mask kits to the fire department. 

This donation is just a small part of Invisible Fence® Brand’s Project BreatheTM program, which was established with the goal of equipping every fire station in America and Canada with pet oxygen masks in partnership with local veterinarians. These masks allow firefighters to give oxygen to pets who are suffering from smoke inhalation when they are rescued from fires. The masks often save pets’ lives. 

Invisible Fence® Brand has donated a total of more than 10,000 pet oxygen masks to fire stations all
over the U.S. and Canada throughout the life of the program. Dr. Visser and Center for Animal Health had coordinated one of those mask donations to the Edwardsburg Fire Department in 2010, and while a reported 90+ pets have been saved by the donated masks world-wide, an Edwardsburg dog was saved from a house fire in March, 2013, and revived using the oxygen mask donated by Visser’s pet hospital. 

“When a family suffers the tragedy of a fire, lives are turned upside down,” said Shanna Hubbard of Invisible Fence of Southwest Michigan. “Pets are valued family members, so we want families to know that their pet can be cared for if tragedy strikes.”

“We realize that humans are the first-priority, but in many cases, pets can be saved if firefighters have the right equipment,” said Hubbard. “The Project BreatheTM Program is simply a way of giving firefighters the tools necessary to save pets’ lives.”

Sister Lakes is now joining Edwardsburg and the ranks of cities like Chicago, Cleveland and Memphis, who have all received donated pet oxygen masks from the Project BreatheTM program. "Thank God they had the mask. Dogs and cats are part of the family and I don’t know what these grateful folks would do without their beloved dog. Things can be replaced. Lives can’t, whether they’re animals or people" said Visser, regarding the family whose dog was rescued using the donated masks.

Although the number of pets that die in fires is not an official statistic kept by the U.S. Fire Administration, industry web sites and sources have cited an estimated 40,000 to 150,000 pets die in fires each year, most succumbing to smoke inhalation. In most states, emergency responders are unequipped to deal with the crisis. The loss is terrible for the family, and heart wrenching for firefighters.


“These masks truly are blessings for the greater Sister Lakes area” said Assistant Chief Anthony Stewart of Sister Lakes Fire Department. “We’ve seen residents run back into burning homes to save a pet. It’s understandable, but extremely dangerous. These masks will give residents comfort in knowing that we can save their pets if they are suffering from smoke inhalation.”

he Sister Lakes Fire Department recently received a $5,000 grant from the Pokagon Fund to go towards the purchase of wildland firefighting gear.

This gear is used for fighting fires in fields, woods and other non-structural situations where lighter weight protection is needed.

“The wildland gear will allow us to outfit our firefighters with cooler, lighter weight gear and save our heavy structural gear for when it is required,” said Chief Anthony Lozada. “The structural gear is roughly $2,500 per person. One tear from some barbed wire in a field and we are down a firefighter until it can be repaired or replaced. The Wildland gear is designed for use in this type of woods and field environment where the structural gear is designed for interior firefighting.”

“Had we not received the grant from the Pokagon Fund, I doubt we could have afforded this specialized gear,” said Sister Lakes Fire Department President Jim Scholz. “It was not in our budget for this year but when the fund was able to cover 60 percent of the cost for us, it became something we could not pass up.

“With the help of the Pokagon Fund, we are able to outfit 20 firefighters with this new wildland gear. The whole department is thankful to the Pokagon Fund for its community support and specifically for supporting us in this endeavor.”

The Sister Lakes Fire Department is a 501C3 nonprofit community based volunteer organization that provides fire and emergency services to portions of Bainbridge, Keeler and Silver Creek Townships in Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties.

Upcoming Events​​

Sister Lakes Fire Recieves Donation to Save Pets from Fire

SLFD AWARDED POKAGON FUND GRANT

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Sister Lakes Volunteer Fire Department

​92282 CR 690, Dowagiac, MI 49047
Phone: 269-424-3145  Fax: 269-424-5560


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