"Losing a beloved animal companion is always a difficult experience, but it becomes devastating when we realize that it could have been prevented."
Masks that help save lives after a house fire aren't just for humans anymore.
A group has donated tiny oxygen masks to the Santa Clara County fire district, making it possible for crews to resuscitate four-legged family companions after disaster strikes.
"Air for Paws" was started by Terry Moriyama, who lost her puppies Sammi and Nikki in a fire.
"It is a grass-roots effort, soon to become non-profit organization, which honors all of our animal companions by helping to equip fire/rescue agencies with animal resuscitation kits," Moriyama said. " Losing a beloved animal companion is always a difficult experience, but it becomes devastating when we realize that it could have been prevented."
The ten donated kits each contain specially designed oxygen masks, instruction cards, emergency numbers, and a leash.
The masks are constructed to properly fit animals ranging in size from a hamster to a large dog.
Over 40,000 pets die each year from smoke asphyxiation in fires.
Many fire fighters have said they feel helpless when confronted with an animal victim.
They said they want to help, but often lack the proper equipment to do so.