POLO, Ill. (WIFR) -- A nation-wide program that's saved an estimated 10,000 pets since it began is now donating to the Polo Fire Department.
Keeley Meyer has only been training as a Polo firefighter for a few months, but she knew as soon as she heard about pet oxygen masks, that it was something her department needed.
"If it was like my brother or sister who needed oxygen, I'd want the same thing for my pets because I wouldn't want to lose them to a fire," said Meyer.
"If it does happen, then people are freaking out; they don't necessarily think to grab the animals, and sometimes the animals will be too scared to come out with them, so we can go out and retrieve them and give them the oxygen supply that they need," said Meyer.
Meyer requested the masks after she heard about Project Breathe: an initiative to donate pet oxygen masks. It has donated more than 18,000 masks around the United States.
"Our goal with this program is to equip each fire department with these kits so that they have them on their truck. We hope they never have to use them, but if they do they're properly equipped," said Invisible Fence Brand of the Quad Cities owner Phil Vroman.
Almost any kind of house pet you can think of would benefit from this equipment in an emergency.
"The size of the mask is really dependent on the snout of an animal, but if even the small is too big, it's still delivering oxygen much better than a flat mask would that's allowing air to get out," said Vroman.
Firefighters say while saving humans from a fire is most important, animals are a close second.
"Pets are like my family," said Meyer.
A total of 12 masks were donated to the Polo Fire Department. There will be three on each of the fire department's four vehicles.