PORTLAND — The Portland Fire Department, the Portland Downtown District and Planet Dog Foundation are kicking off a $3,000 fundraising effort to equip fire trucks with pet oxygen masks.

The masks, which cost $40 apiece, are designed to fit dogs and cats, and come in a variety of sizes. Officials say the goal is to have all sizes on each fire truck in Maine’s largest city.

Chief Fred LaMontagne says the first priority of firefighters is protecting people. But he says pets are important, too. He says that often the first words out of homeowners’ mouths during a fire are pleas to help save their beloved pet.

City Councilor Dave Marshall and Mocha, his long-haired mini-dachshund, attended a news conference today to demonstrate the masks.