Jessica stone is a firefighter and emergency medical responder for the Smiths Station fire department.
Before coming to Smiths Station, she was a soldier in the United States army for seven years. After she retired from the service, she wanted something to fill her time.
“I tried the stay at home mom for a while,” Stone said. “I needed something to keep me active from me missing my Army days. I always had that adrenaline and doing what I love.”
She got an adrenaline rush on Sept. 3 in 2014 when her department received a call about a house fire. While on the scene, she learned that there was a dog inside the house.
She got the dog from the house and brought it to the ambulance where she placed a pediatric oxygen mask on the dog, resuscitating it .
Thanks to a donation from a local pet waste facility in Columbus, the department will be the first in Lee County to have pet oxygen masks- one for a small, medium and large-sized pet.
When the crews arrive on scene, their oxygen masks go on first. Then, any pets in the fire are brought out where their masks are waiting.
“You place it over the dog’s snout and it’s got a seal on it that pushes on and oxygen flows through the oxygen tube so it can go through their nose and their mouths,” Stone said. “And, they’ll get the oxygen they need.”
Nicole Namie is a veterinarian at Smiths Station Animal Hospital. She’s also a pet owner. Having these masks ready can be the difference between life and death.
“As soon as they start to inhale those toxins, the airways start to inflame, they can’t breathe,” Namie said. “As a result, the carbon monoxide in their system starts to build up. So as soon as we can get them on oxygen, it opens up those airwaves and facilitates better breathing, and the faster you can do that, it improves mortality and morbidity.
“More and more we’re seeing pets as part of the family,” Namie said. “People love them like they love their children, and so you want to know that you’re protecting and doing everything, especially if you have a traumatic event like a house fire.”