Sgt Brenden O’Brien – Canton Fire Fighter

Rob with Sgt. O’Brien. Rob holding the breathing apparatus used to give oxygen to pets.

I interviewed Sgt Brendan O’Brien of Firestation 11 in Canton about rescuing animals in trouble.

How long have you been a fireman?

10 years.

What is the best part about being a fireman?

The excitement of the job and the camaraderie with my co-workers.  We really are a family.

How do you rescue dogs and cats from buildings on fire?  Do you need special equipment?

If you come across a dog or cat you pick it up and take it out with you.  We have pet rescue masks in our engines that we fit over the animal’s mouth and nose that give it oxygen and help it breathe.

Sgt O’Brien rescuing a Lab puppy from a 75ft well.

Have you ever rescued an animal?

Yes.  About 2 years ago I was based in Ball Ground and we got a report of a dog in the bottom of a 75 foot well.  It was a technical rescue and I was sent out with Firestation 12.  I was attached to a rope and harness and released slowly into the pit.  The dog had been in the hole about 8 hours at this point.  It turned out to be a 3 or 4 month old Lab puppy.  At the end of the day I adopted the dog and called it Rosie.

What advise do you have for people about animals in fires?

Try to get them out ASAP.  Have a plan and an exit route in the event of fire.  Dogs are smart and are often the ones that alert their owners to a fire.

What made you want to be a fireman?

Since high school I wanted to be one.  I would stop by after school at a fire station and ask questions.

What can people do to help you?

Learn about fire safety.  Have an escape route and a planned meeting point in the event of a fire.

How often do you have an emergency?

We are called out about 1 to 10 times in a 24 hour period for all sorts of things including fires, car wrecks and medical emergencies.

Sgt. O’Brien after the rescue of Rosie.