Not in Westchester?
July 15, 2020


Two first responders resuscitate a Labrador retriever. Photo Credit: Provided
A first responder uses a pet oxygen mask to resuscitate a puppy suffering smoke inhalation. Photo Credit: Provided
Pet oxygen masks are being provided to a sixth Westchester community. Photo Credit: Contributed
A demonstration of how the pet oxygen masks work. Photo Credit: Provided
A new state law is aimed at protecting campers from exposure to measles and other contagious diseases. Photo Credit: Orange County Department of Health

Around The Towns: Oxygen Masks For Pets, Measles Protection For Campers

Pet owners in a sixth Westchester community can breathe a little easier now that local first responders have a special tool to help save family pets in home fires and other emergencies. 

The Sleepy Hollow Ambulance Corps recently received a donation of two sets of life-saving pet oxygen masks from at-home pet services provider Canine Company.

Other Westchester first responders that have requested and received pet mask donations from Canine Company in the past year include the Ardsley-Secor Volunteer Ambulance, the Hastings-on-Hudson Fire Department, the Millwood Fire Department, the Mouth Kisco Volunteer Fire Department and the Valhalla Ambulance Corps.

At least 14 pets have been saved so far this year by first responders using the donated masks.

Sleepy Hollow''s kits were requested by EMT Simon Cohen, who helped resuscitate a cat without a mask when he worked with another area ambulance corps. Thankfully, the cat survived. So when Cohen learned about Canine Company’s campaign to outfit first responders with oxygen masks designed for pets, he contacted the company.

Pets are at special risk during a home fire because they are unable to leave the house without help. An estimated 40,000 pets die from smoke inhalation across the U.S. each year. The cone-shaped masks are designed for a pet’s snout, which human masks don’t fit. Each set includes masks in three sizes to fit pets from small mammals to giant breed dogs.

“Our company mission is to help families keep their pets healthy, safe and happy. We do that with our products and services, and with our charitable programs,” said Renee Coughlin of Canine Company based in Wilton, CT.

Over the past decade, Canine Company has donated masks to first responders in more than 500 communities across New England, New York and New Jersey.

New State Law Protects Campers Against Measles

A new state law aimed at guarding campers from measles and other contagious diseases also would protect them from registered sex offenders.

A downside is the law will not take effect for 90 days following its signing on July 16 by Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New Castle.

The legislation was sponsored by state Sen. David Carlucci, who represents parts of Westchester and Rockland counties; and Assemblyman Tom Abinanti, who represents the towns of Greenburgh and Mount Pleasant.

The new law requires that parents be notified if the camp their children are attending is not regulated by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), as reported here earlier by Daily Voice.

Non-regulated camps do not have to obtain a permit from the NYSDOH so they do not have to check if staff is on the sex offender registry prior to hiring, report injuries or illnesses of campers, or keep up-to-date vaccination records of campers.

“The Governor has taken action to keep our children safe," Carlucci said. "Non-regulated camps currently operate with no oversight, and it's scary for parents who may have no idea."

Abinanti added: "This is all about children’s safety. Parents need complete information when deciding where to send their children."

It is estimated that there are about 10,000 non-regulated single-purpose day camps operating in the state. Single-purpose camps focus on one activity like baseball or soccer and are extremely popular for children who specialize in a single sport.

The new law will require non-regulated camps to provide parents or guardians with notice that they are not regulated by the NYSDOH by including the following notice on a child’s application or enrollment form:

"This camp is not regulated or inspected by the New York State Department of Health and is not required to obtain a Department of Health permit. This camp is not required to follow Department of Health regulations, including, checking the state sex offender registry prior to hiring staff; maintaining minimum staff-to-child ratios; hiring medical personnel; or reporting injuries or illnesses to the Department of Health."

Non-regulated camps will also have to include the notice on their website and post it prominently at the camp’s facilities.