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ECFD showcases PFAS-free extinguishing agent

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EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) - Area firefighters and state leaders visited CVTC Thursday to learn about the extinguishing agent used by the Eau Claire Fire Department in light of a statewide effort to do away with PFAS from firefighter foam.

For years, firefighting foam containing PFAS was used by fire departments around the state, but now can only be used in emergencies. Eau Claire stopped using this foam all together last year.

Senator Jeff Smith and the Wisconsin Secretary of the Department of Safety and Professional Services, Dawn Crim, were in Eau Claire to see what the fire department has been using instead of foam containing the micro-plastics. Fire department officials went through how the extinguishing agent, F-500, works to put out fires fast without hurting the environment.

"The proactive approach we've taken was keeping in mind, and keeping forefront, the health and safety of the people in our community and keeping forefront any environmental impacts," said Deputy Fire Chief Allyn Bertrang.

CVTC is no stranger to testing out extinguishing agents. In its fire safety center, it regularly tests out firefighting foams from companies before seeking certification; especially as more companies look to formulate foams that don't contain PFAS.

"We'll test it, and our technician is able to write up a scientific report for that and then give it to the company, and then they can go back and change formulas and come back and do it all over again if they want," said Mark Schwartz, the emergency services continuing education coordinator at CVTC.

PFAS has been top of mind for many as wells around the state and in Eau Claire have been found to contain the chemical.

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Felicity Bosk

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