More than 38 million units have been recalled due to seriously defective parts—here's what you need to know.
Credit: Getty: Tom and Steve

At a time when we’re preparing to welcome families into our homes for Thanksgiving, it might be worth taking a second look at one of the most crucial safety tools in your kitchen.

More than 38 million fire extinguishers manufactured by one of the nation’s leading producers, Kidde United Technologies, are being recalled by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission for a defect that can fail to stop a small fire from engulfing your kitchen and home. The defect has to do with the fire extinguisher’s dispensary nozzle, which can become lodged, making it unable to function during a real-life emergency.

The pressure caused by this buildup can cause the nozzle to detach from the fire extinguisher, turning it into a high-speed projectile that could cause property damage or serious injury. There are over 390 reports of these fire extinguishers malfunctioning – emergency responders failed to stop a car fire in 2014 with a faulty extinguisher, resulting in the first death associated with this recall. Over 16 separate injuries have been noted, and nearly 100 reports of property damage have also occurred.

There’s also a really good chance the fire extinguisher in your home is part of this nationwide recall – the 37.8 million models affected have been in production for over 44 years and have been distributed and sold in the U.S. and Canada. Places where you or your landlord could have purchased these fire extinguishers include: Kohls, Sears, Home Depot, Walmart, and Amazon. The models affected include red, white, and silver-colored products, which retailed between $12 and $50. Some of these defective fire extinguishers also came in industrial trucks, RVs, and boats.

Credit: Photo: Kidde United Technologies

Kidde will replace all recalled models free of charge, and more information is available on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website. You’ll be able to tell if your extinguisher needs to be exchanged by looking at the date code, model number, and serial number on the back of your extinguisher. 

Even if you recently purchased a new extinguisher, ensure your model is unaffected by the recall, and if it has been recalled, exchange it for a new one. Having immediate access to a fully functioning fire extinguisher is one of the most important aspects of kitchen safety, especially around the holidays.