Michigan Toy Maker Offers Alternative to Dangerous Imports

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As the nation's largest toy manufacturer scrambles to recall 21 million dangerous toys, one West Michigan company is likely to reap the benefits of a long-standing commitment to producing their novelty fire helmet line in the United States. Fire Chief Products produces high-quality plastic fire helmets that sell as popular toys for children. The helmets retail from $23 to $56 and are entirely American-made. Fire Chief Products has recently entered into a licensing agreement with Chevron/Texaco to reintroduce the product bearing the original Texaco Fire Chief shield.

Fire Chief Products of Jenison, Michigan, announced today that it has entered into a license agreement with Chevron/Texaco to reintroduce the classic Texaco Fire Chief Helmet. The helmet will be 100 percent American-made, and should hit store shelves by the end of the year.

Fire Chief Products is a family owned business that offers a full line of American-made novelty fire helmets. The company is the brainchild of full time firefighter Tim Maday.

Maday's long-standing commitment to creating safe products that are made in the United States may resonate well with buyers this holiday season. Recently the nation's biggest toy manufacturers have been attracting scrutiny after revealing that many of their imported toys were made using lead paint.

Richard Eckert, Mattel Inc.'s chief executive, was apologetic as he sat in front of the U.S. Senate Appropriations subcommittee this week. Mattel has initiated an unprecedented toy recall of 21 million potentially hazardous, Chinese-made toys that may have endangered American children.

This public relations nightmare for the nation's largest toy maker has created renewed interest in American-made toys. Fire Chief Products is uniquely situated to satisfy consumer demand for safe and domestically manufactured toys.

"It is significantly more expensive to produce a high quality plastic toy in the United States," Maday said. "We made the investment necessary to ensure that our products are manufactured in Michigan by local businesses."

Maday knows his suppliers personally and can monitor the production of his helmet parts.

"Producing these helmets in Michigan provides jobs for my neighbors and revenue for this state's economy," Maday added. "We know our product is safe because we know the people making the parts."

Fire Chief Products has been in business since 2002. The company's novelty fire helmets are produced from the plastic injection mold that fashioned the Texaco Fire Chief Helmet in the 1960s. Texaco's Fire Chief Helmet was one the most popular toys of America's classic toy period. The licensing agreement finalized this week between Maday and Chevron/Texaco will reintroduce a helmet bearing the original Texaco Fire Chief shield.

Maday and his family have shipped over 3,000 fire helmets to adults and children around the world. The helmets are popular with firefighters, firefighting enthusiasts, and of course, children. Fire Chief Products produces a pink fire helmet that has been very successful with female customers.

Maday's fire helmets retail from $23 to $56. Fire Chief Products has never had to recall a single one of their helmets, something uncommon for American toy producers.

Mattel is just the most recent toy manufacturer to recall toys made in China. In June, toy maker RC2 Corp. voluntarily recalled 1.5 million wooden railroad toys from its Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway product line because of lead paint. In July, Hasbro Inc. recalled Chinese-made Easy Bake Ovens due to reports of second and third degree burns to children.

As a firefighter and father of 5, Maday knows the importance of producing safe toys. Fire Chief Products and the Maday family stand behind their novelty fire helmets with a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee.

Fire Chief Products sells novelty fire helmets online, over the phone, and through a network or retail partners. Tim Maday can be reached at 616-780-8205 or online at http://www.oldfirehat.com.

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Sean Maday
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