Donations making Tucson area firefighters safer with simple tool

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- It's not the most high-tech tool firefighters have on the job, but can sometimes end up being the most important; simple cutters they can use to free themselves from entanglement while fighting fires.

With the help of generous donors firefighters in the region are now safer.

Most people can imagine the peril heat, smoke and flames can pose to firefighters, but one of the biggest dangers might not come to mind.

A quarter of all firefighter deaths are caused by wire entanglement.  It's a common problem with modern construction.

"A firefighter becoming entangled in wires and suffocating because they run out of air," said Captain Trish Tracy from the Tucson Fire Department.

The solution is to equip each firefighter with a pair of cutters. But with the budget problems fire departments are facing, the money just isn't there. So the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation went to the community to ask for help.

Several local congregations, businesses and civic groups such as Tucson Meadows Mobile Home Cert Group, have stepped up.

The fire foundation has only received half the funding but say the issue of firefighter entanglement is so serious, they wanted to hand out the cutters they've purchased so far, right now.

The fire foundation is halfway to its goal of providing 900 cutters to firefighters from 13 different local departments.

And those who've donated would like to see others do the same.

"Donate.  Don't hesitate.  It's going to a good cause," said Jean Malesic / Marie Collette / CERT Group of Tucson Meadows Mobile Home Park

The cable cutters cost $33 dollars apiece. Donations can be made to the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation.