KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. - Firefighters on the Outer Banks are getting life-saving equipment for free thanks to the Coastal Humane Society.
The Outer Banks organization is dedicated to helping pet owners care for their animals, but they wanted to do more to help save their lives.
Earlier this year, the organization launched a project called Operation Fresh Air for Pets. The goal was to raise money to buy every single volunteer fire department on the Outer Banks pet oxygen masks.
"Having your house burn down is an incredible tragedy, but to know that everyone in the family is safe - that means a lot," shared Patti Bourexis, a coordinator with Coastal Humane Society.
Each mask costs $65 before shipping and handling. It's an expense volunteer fire departments say they can't afford on their own.
Thanks to the organization's project, a month after their mission was launched, they began handing out pet oxygen masks to area fire departments. While some of their funding came from the Wags and Whiskers Gala in the Outer Banks, organizers say most of the money for these masks came from community donations.
"It's a wonderful, caring community, and it’s a community that understands that pets are family members," explained Bourexis. "We feel really good about it."
While the organization has made some progress with their mission, there is still work that needs to be done.
"We keep charging along until we cover all 14 fire departments here in Dare County. Our entire Sandbar is going to be fully equipped to respond."
To donate or learn more about the organization, visit the Coastal Humane Society's website.