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Purrfect Fire Department Rescue Operation Last Weekend Relied Upon Specialized Equipment

Published on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 | 5:05 pm
Firefighter/Paramedic Hailee Powell courtesy of Pasadena Fire Dept

A successful kitty rescue operation last weekend highlighted the array of specialized search and rescue equipment used by the Pasadena Fire Department to save not just humans but all kinds of animals.

Last Saturday, a local family called the Pasadena Fire Department to say they could hear their kitten purring in the walls but could not locate it. Responding firefighters, using a specialized search camera, determined that the kitten had fallen from the second floor to the basement in the air conditioning ducting, where it was stuck.

Pasadena’s Urban Search and Rescue unit’s search camera consists of a small video camera with lights attached to a pole that can be extended and a lens rotated which can be rotated. It is designed to search for people trapped in rubble after a building collapse, the Fire Department said in a statement.

To locate the kitten, the camera was extended down the ducting until the rescuers got a visual confirmation of the kitten’s location. They were then able to cut away a portion of the ducting to gain access and safely pulled the kitten out.

The Pasadena Fire Department said their Urban Search and Rescue teams also have the capability to detect people trapped inside buildings, using life or victim detectors – devices that use seismic or acoustic sensors to detect minute sounds or vibrations.

“We also have the capability to detect trapped people, by sound or vibration.”

“Other tools we can utilize to perform rescues are chisels, concrete breaching hammers, various saws, hydraulic or pneumatic tools, and hand tools depending on the conditions,” the statement said.

Pasadena firefighter administers oxygen to a cat through a specialized mask designed for animal rescues. “Spot,” who is white when not covered by soot, was rescued during a 3-alarm blaze at an apartment house in the 200 block of Bellevue Drive on Wednesday, Sept, 9, 2020. [Photo courtesy Pasadena Fire Dept.]
“Specific to animals, the Pasadena Fire Department does carry animal rescue or resuscitation kits comprised of oxygen masks designed to fit over different sized snouts that can be connected to oxygen tanks.”

“Although not an everyday call for service, our personnel do respond to a variety of situations including animal rescues. Over the years, PFD has assisted with bee swarms, rescuing stuck horses, wandering bears, and trapped cats and dogs.”

The rescue kits, usually donated to the Department, are primarily for cats and dogs but could also be used for other animals, the statement said.

The family of the missing kitten said they’re considering naming their new kitten “Gigi,” after the nickname of the firefighter who performed the rescue.

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