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Monday, October 7, 2013 - 3:36pm

New Pet Masks for Macon-Bibb First Responders

Macon-Bibb fire and police departments are on the job with nine new sets of oxygen masks for dogs and cats. The cutting edge equipment was a gift from a tough Macon attorney with a soft spot for animals.

Teresa Saggese Mills started researching oxygen masks for pets while practicing in Atlanta. During that time she heard about a large apartment fire. While no one was injured in the daytime fire, several animals died. "As an attorney I feel like I can handle anything, but you show me an animal that’s hurting or a person that’s lost a beloved pet and you’re going to see more water works here than over at the Macon water authority."

Many local rescue squads, like Macon-Bibb have gone without lifesaving equipment for animals, but thanks to donations like the ones from Saggese Mills, they are better able to save the life of an animal caught in a fire.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration each year, up to 150,000 pets die in fires and more than 500,000 are affected by home fires.

Assistant Fire Chief Shane Edwards said training for emergency medical technicians on how to use the new equipment will begin this week.