Fundraising to supply Pet Oxygen Masks to Fire Brigades in Ireland (starting in Co. Cork)
My favorite charity is the Animal Care Society Cork, it will be yours too should you ever get around to visit, their love and dedication to the animals is second to none. Besides "just" running a lot of the daily operation, Albert Kleyn (Director of the ACS) has envisioned many other projects that he'd like to run to improve animal lives all across the county and country.
One of those projects was to gift sets of different sized Pet Oxygen Masks to the Cork Fire Brigade so that animals that were exposed to smoke during fires could be adequately treated. As with most charity projects, the biggest issue was funding. Although this one could actually be kick-started with an affordable amount, so I did just that in late 2020 and some of those masks were delivered and handed over in February 2021
County Cork and Ireland are a lot bigger and Fire Brigades around the County need a lot more kits than what I alone (and the VMware matching) could possibly afford. If you think this is worthy and esp. if you are or have family belonging to the ~ 60% of Irish households with pets, please donate.
If you aren't from Ireland / Cork, here is how you can set up something similar for your community:
There might already be a charity close to you! Originally, the ACS would have sourced the masks from https://www.smokeypaws.co.uk/ which operates in the UK, due to the back then imminent brexit we decided to opt for a more local option thought.
1. Identify the need for the local Fire Brigade
Ring your local Fire Station (non emergency number!) and ask them, they will be happy to let you know whether there is need and for how many. You should calculate with 1 set per car and maybe one additional reserve per station.
2. Find a local / general animal charity to work with that is registered and eligible on vmware.brightfunds.org and of course interested
This is important because you want your contribution to be matched and it also distributes some of the organizational effort. The charity would buy the masks with the ear marked, donated funds. Make sure to donate directly to the charity and then match on brightfunds so that the directly donated money is available immediately.
3. Find a re-seller for the masks
There might be more than one model but we used the Smiths Medical SKU "V7148 Family".
To find a local distributor, ask their regional customer service:
4. Negotiate with the distributor
It doesn't hurt to ask! Depending on how many kits you are buying (+ if the charity fronts the matched amount since it can take ~ half a year for that to be transferred), the re-seller might be willing to give a discount. Make sure to ask for the red carry bag as those are sometimes not included with the kit, you might also want to add a slip lead per pack. Also mention the purpose, that the masks will be procured by a charity and gifted to local fire stations. While most veterinarian resellers already operate on thin margins, they might not want to make (much) money on this.
4. Prepare the handover
The charity might have some contacts here, maybe contact a local news paper and use that to generate additional funds to try to provide the wider County with mask sets :-).