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Mesa firefighters get essential tools to save pets' lives

by Catherine Holland

Video report by Javier Soto

Posted on September 20, 2012 at 3:29 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 1:31 PM

MESA, Ariz. -- A generous donation of Fido Bags will help Mesa firefighters save pets injured in house fires.

Created by a Glendale firefighter, Fido Bags contain special equipment -- oxygen masks, burn sheets, bandages, leashes, protective restraints, protective gloves for firefighters, and more -- designed specifically to treat animals. One of the most important things in the bags is the oxygen masks. Masks designed for people simply don't fit pets' heads properly so they don't necessarily get the oxygen they need to survive.

According to The fetch Foundation, more than 40,000 family pets die of smoke inhalation each year. Fido Bags give firefighters the tools to reduce that staggering number.

Last year, every Glendale fire truck was equipped with a Fido Bag. Now Mesa is following suit thanks to a donation by The fetch Foundation. The bags for the Mesa Fire Department cost about $4,400.

"What this allows us to do is extend our delivery of service to our customers," said Capt. Forrest Smith of the Mesa Fire Department. "When we go on fires, we know that we have people who are impacted -- they're losing a great deal of property. But it's our animals that we want to reach out to. … Our pets are part of our families."

The fetch Foundation's goal is to eventually make sure every fire department in the Valley is equipped with life-saving Fido Bags. Each bag costs about $275. The fetch Foundation puts them together and then donates them to the fire departments.

If you'd like to sponsor a Fido Bag, visit thefetchfoundation.com.

Even if you can't sponsor whole bag, you can make a contribution to the Fido Bag program and Emergency Veterinarian Assistance Fund.

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