Max the Long Haired Miracle!

Good afternoon from the jumpseat.  How many times in your career have you truly saved someone’s life?  Every day in our world we stand ready to go the extra mile for our fellow-man, but what if the extra mile is for man’s best friend?  Now before the safety guru’s start yelling, let’s put this into context.  Our number one priority is to safe human life, but sometimes we can save one of our little friends.  Should we risk our lives to save someone’s pet? That is up to everyone reading this blog and I would vote NO.  But what about the times when you are advancing on the fire and find a salvageable pet?  I would like to share the story of Max, the long haired miracle.
On a slow Sunday morning in the firehouse those familiar sounds rang out, “stations and units respond for the reported structure fire?”  We all know the reaction when those words come across the speakers and we all responded as usual.  This particular morning was my medic unit rotation which usually means that we arrive first because of less turnout time.  This response remain constant as we arrived just before the first due engine.  Being assigned to the medic unit on a working fire often is like being invited to the senior prom just to watch.
Upon our arrival we quickly found that all occupants were out with except Max the dog.  His location was on the upstairs bed that was too high for him to jump from.  We conveyed this to the first arriving rescue company as they entered the structure to make sure all occupants were out and to aid the truck company in ventilation.  Then out of nowhere here they come out of the house like the blazing hero’s they truly are, Max in hand. Max was given to the medic crew and we went to work.  We had recently been given masks to apply oxygen to our little friends.  We suctioned his airway, cleared the soot from his nose, and tried our best to help max.  He was breathing hard and unresponsive.  After about 5 minutes he started to come around and a neighbor transported him to a local animal hospital with our oxygen tank and mask.
We later learned that max had made a complete recovery and the home owner was appreciative that we had quickly put the fire out, but even more that we had saved Max.  This would have not been possible without a lot of committed responders that came together to save Max and more importantly without having the oxygen masks that had been “anonymously” donated to the fire department.
This is where the story gets like a Hollywood movie.  I had forgotten about Max’s rescue until I was returning from presenting my Hoarder Fires program.  On my return flight I sat down next to a professional looking woman and we spent the flight talking until I told her  Max’s story, then she just about started to cry.  You see someone had anonymously donated those oxygen masks to the fire department and that person was HER.  She had seen a story on the news about losing a pet in a fire and wrote the check anonymously.  We finished the flight, I sent her the pics, and we parted way’s following a huge thank you on Max’s behalf.
It’s funny sometimes how small our world truly is and this story could not have been a bigger example of just that.  Who would have thought that a few firefighters, a medic crew, and a complete stranger could come together to save someone’s life, it just so happened that this time it was a dog named Max. We all need to remember the risk versus reward training when it comes to saving anything, especially when fighting a structural fire. But we also can remember to help those who can’t help themselves.  Who knows the next life that you save might be your best friend.
God bless the donator, firefighters, medic crew, and the doctors who save the life of man’s best friend.
Bunker up, Buckle in, it’s where we all begin!
welcome to the jumpseat!

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