The Havelock North Brigade is hoping others will follow suit after it was the first to receive specialised resuscitation equipment for domestic pets.
The equipment was presented to firefighters by new organisation "Pet Lives Matter" and can be used on pets ranging from as small as mice to as large as a Great Dane.
Creator Jan Pickering approached senior VetENT vet, Alanda Rafferty for medical aspects and sponsorship. Additions to the kit were then made by qualified vet nurse Rochelle Graham, who created a comprehensive CPR chart and information to go inside the kit. She visited local fire stations who are receiving the kits and trained the staff and volunteers in CPR procedures on a animals. The clinic was also one of the first who reached out to pet owners who needed to house their animals during the Waimarama fires in 2017.
VetEnt Havelock North have also sponsored two kits, and were the first vet clinic in Hawkes Bay to support the initiative.
"In line with a growing awareness of the importance of our smaller family members, this new project will initially focus on Hawke's Bay fire stations, but will eventually be rolled out to the rest of New Zealand," Pickering said.
The equipment would only be used by firefighters responding to emergencies such a structural fires or serious weather events.
"Outside of this, if animals have breathing difficulties, people should contact their own vet."
Pet Oxygen Mask kits have been available to "first responders" in the USA for many years, with many animal lives saved as a result. Pickering questioned why the practice wasn't used in New Zealand and designed her own rescue kit for emergency services.
"Investigations revealed that the oxygen masks were developed and are manufactured in Auckland. Thousands of pet masks have been sent overseas, but until now have had very little use in New Zealand.
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So that there is no cost to any of the services, kits are paid for by sponsors and then donated in the sponsor's name."
"If only one pet is saved by this project, it will have been worth it."
Pickering said there were more than 50 fire stations across the Hawke's Bay region and she hoped that others would cotton on to the emergency kits.
Pet 2 Us owner Debbie Neave, who also housed pets during the Waimarama fires in February 2017, believed that the masks would be an asset to the Hawke's Bay community.
"I think these masks are a really good idea as they highlight the fact that animals also need help in emergency situations as well, if they've worked in the USA then I don't see any reason for why they can't work here either," she said.
Neave said it would be another great addition for pet safety across the Hawke's Bay community.