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A.J. Stone Company Supplies Canada's First PFAS-Free Bunker Gear to Sault Ste. Marie Fire Services

May 14, 2024, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. – A.J. Stone Company is proud to announce that we have supplied Sault Ste. Marie Fire Services with the first set of PFAS-free bunker gear in Canada! This milestone marks a significant step forward in enhancing firefighter safety by eliminating the use of per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of synthetic chemicals commonly found in firefighting equipment.

During a press conference held on Thursday afternoon, Fire Chief Peter Johnson highlighted the importance of this new personal protective equipment. PFAS chemicals, often used to resist heat and moisture, have been linked to various cancers through prolonged exposure. Recognizing these risks, Sault Ste. Marie Fire Services took proactive measures to protect their firefighters by opting for PFAS-free gear.

Chief Johnson stated, "We have presumptive cancers known in our industry, and a number of our firefighters, mainly retirees, have been diagnosed with cancer. While we cannot directly link these diagnoses to bunker gear, purchasing this new equipment is a crucial step toward mitigating every potential risk for our workers and firefighters."

Sault Ste. Marie Fire Services is the first in the country to provide PFAS-free gear to its firefighters. The City of Vancouver has also announced plans to acquire similar equipment by the end of the year. However, Sault Ste. Marie has already equipped all 80 of its frontline firefighters with the new PFAS-free bunker gear, ready for immediate deployment.

This achievement was made possible through the diligent efforts of city officials who allocated $300,000 in their budget for this vital purchase. At A.J. Stone Company, we have been working closely with local fire officials for over a year and a half to secure this agreement. Our sales representative and active Sudbury firefighter, Steve Dionne, played a pivotal role in brokering this deal and ensuring the procurement of the PFAS-free gear from the manufacturer Innotex.

"We anticipate that many other fire departments will follow suit," Dionne said. "The industry has been placing greater emphasis on protecting its members from harmful contaminants over the past half-decade. This includes rigorous decontamination protocols and the adoption of PFAS-free firefighting foam."

Chief Johnson noted that Sault Ste. Marie Fire Services is part of this broader industry shift, having implemented decontamination protocols and purchased PFAS-free firefighting foam even before the arrival of the new gear. Moving forward, his goal is to ensure that every firefighter in the Sault has access to at least two sets of PFAS-free gear.

At A.J. Stone Company, we are dedicated to providing innovative and safe equipment to first responders across Ontario. The transition to PFAS-free gear represents a pivotal moment in our mission to enhance the safety and well-being of those who serve and protect our communities with integrity and excellence.