Firefighters resuscitated a dog using special pet-friendly oxygen masks after a fire at a house in St Helens.
The 12-year-old female terrier dog was drifting into unconsciousness when crews arrived at the property on Chancery Lane, Parr.
It is believed to be one of the first times the equipment has been used in Merseyside.
The masks, provided by a charity called Smokey Paws and paid for by donations from kind-hearted animal lovers, are part of a kit specially tailored for cats, dogs and other small household pets.
Six kits are now being carried on fire engines based at Croxteth, Formby, Toxteth, Birkenhead, St Helens and Huyton Community Fire Stations.
Crews used the kit to revive the dog after she was found in the kitchen of the smoke-logged property.
She was returned to her owner, who had made her own way out of the property unharmed before fire crews arrived. Firefighters put the fire out using a CO2 extinguisher and a hose reel.
Station manager Franny Hill said: “The pet oxygen mask was vital in bringing this lucky dog back to consciousness and the kits will be of benefit crews who attend fires in future where animals are involved.
“Firefighters have always done their best to save pets at incidents they attend and these kits will greatly improve their chances of reviving animals who have suffered smoke inhalation.
“The leads provided with the kits will also be useful in keeping any animals involved in road traffic collisions calm, stable and secure.”
Group Manager Rob Pritchard, who has been working with Smokey Paws in recent months to help get the masks on MFRS fire engines, said: “As a service we regularly attend house fires where pets are involved.
“Once animals have been rescued they often, much like humans, require some form of oxygen therapy to assist in their immediate care and recovery.
“Our crews always do the best job they can in these situations – however our equipment hasn’t previously been tailored specifically towards household pets.
“These new masks from Smokey Paws are specifically designed to fit the faces of animals and means we can go one step further when it comes to treating pets that have been involved in house fires and which have suffered smoke inhalation
“Pets are an enormous part of family, so we are thrilled that we are now starting to see this life-saving equipment rolled out to fire engines across Merseyside.”
Smokey Paws is a not-for-profit organisation that provides the animal-friendly first aid masks to fire services across the UK and relies on donations and fundraising from individuals and organisations.
Lynn Carberry, co-founder of Smokey Paws, said: “It is fantastic that Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service has received six kits and that these are already being used to ensure pets’ lives are saved across Merseyside.
“The masks we provide are specifically shaped to fit animals’ snouts properly when administering oxygen. Up until now, many fire services have been using human masks when treating animals which aren’t shaped effectively enough; our pet masks ensure as much oxygen can be administered as possible to the animal or pet in need.”