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Breath of [lifesaving} fresh air

July 13, 2007 - Amy Jo Hanna-Eckenrode

If you missed this article in Thursday's Mirror, you're in luck because I didn't! Hats off to Carole and Weston Graffius and Don Steele for taking on this project!  For more information on how to participate in the effort, call Graffius at 693-9624.

maskThree area residents have donated oxygen masks specially designed to be used on pets to two local fire companies.

Carole Graffius and her husband, Weston, of Hollidays-burg donated two sets to the Phoenix Volunteer Fire Department. And D.P. Oppel of Duncansville donated a set to the Blair Township Dun-cansville Fire Department.

Statistics show that nationally in 2005, as many as 40,000 pets died in fires, mostly due to smoke inhalation.

Firefighters have attempted to save the animals who are in respiratory distress by using make-shift equipment or tried mouth-to-nose resuscitation, sometimes unsuccessfully.

Graffius, a resident of Hollidaysburg with a concern for the welfare of animals, discovered oxygen mask sets designed specifically to fit an animal.

Two of the masks are for small and large dogs, the third is for cats, and in some cases the masks have even been used for rabbits and birds.

The mask is available through H.E.L.P. Animals Inc., a nonprofit organization that depends upon monetary donations to fund this effort on behalf of animals.

Carole Graffius is coordinating a charitable effort to expand the resuscitation mask project to include donations to additional volunteer fire departments and emergency responder units.

For more information on how to participate in the effort, call Graffius at 693-9624.

Photo: Involved in the project to provide oxygen masks for use by firefighters on pets are (from left) Hollidaysburg’s Phoenix Volunteer Fire Department Chief Eric Schmitt with his dog, Samson; Carole Graffius, project coordinator; and Don Steele of Hollidaysburg with his dog, Samson.

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