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Napanee-based company receives federal funding for ‘eco-gel’ firefighting technology

FireRein, based in Napanee, Ont., has received funding from the federal government to help get their new "eco-friendly," gel-based retardant on the market.

Fire departments locally and internationally could soon have a new product to help put out fires quicker and safer for firefighters.

FireRein, based in Napanee, Ont., has received funding from the federal government to help get their new “eco-friendly,” gel-based retardant on the market. The company calls their product effective, safe and environmentally friendly.

“We had an idea of a new firefighting water additive that would be able to source the firefighting community in a way that the traditional additives haven’t but without the environmental toxicity concerns,” says the CEO and president of FireRein, Rui Resendes.

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A majority of fire departments use a foam-based product that isn’t safe for the environment and leaves a residue behind. FireRein wanted a nontoxic way of putting out fires.

After two years of experimentation, the company developed an eco-gel that was not only fast-acting and safe for firefighters, but also environmentally friendly. By mixing the product with a little water, firefighters are able to combat fires with the nontoxic gel that sticks to the surfaces it’s sprayed on.

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Currently, the product isn’t being used commercially — but it could soon be. The federal government has now invested $325,000 to help get the product out on the market on a global scale.

In an announcement on Feb. 22, Mike Bossio, the MP for Hastings Lennox and Addington, announced that the federal government would be helping the company go global.

“With this funding, FireRein will be able to fully commercialize eco-gel in local and global markets. This project is expected to create three full-time jobs here in Napanee,” he said.

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So far, Stone Mills Township Fire Department is backing the product. They currently have one truck equipped with the technology — and Napanee hopes to be next in line. According to the fire chief, they have already put in a proposal to install a unit on one of their pumpers.

“We believe it will work good with suppressing both class-A which is ordinary combustibles, and class-B which is flammable liquid fires,” says Rob Serson.

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The product will not be available to the general public at this time. Only fire departments, industrial sites and government agencies will soon have access to this eco-friendly firefighter.