5 On Your Side

Research finds additional problems with Kidde fire extinguisher recall

Posted January 26, 2021 6:10 p.m. EST
Updated January 26, 2021 7:51 p.m. EST

— It was one of the biggest recalls in government history: Millions of Kidde fire extinguishers were recalled in 2017 due to serious defects.

Now a Consumer Reports investigation reveals new findings about how Kidde, a brand name synonymous with fire safety, allegedly failed to report information about problems with its fire extinguishers, putting consumers at risk for years.

Consumer Reports sifted through years of lawsuits and reported complaints and found allegations that Kidde knew of the problems with its fire extinguishers years before it finally issued a recall in 2015 and again in 2017.

A judge recently ordered Kidde to pay a $12 million fine as part of a consent decree settling allegations by the Department of Justice that the company knowingly misled the government about the extent and scope of the problems with some of its products.

Kidde didn’t admit that it violated federal law as part of the settlement.

“Kidde is committed to ensuring our products are safe and dependable, especially those related to life safety such as fire extinguishers,” a Kidde spokesperson said.

But that’s not all. Consumer Reports also found reports on the website of the Consumer Product Safety Commission from consumers saying Kidde bungled the recall, in some cases replacing a recalled fire extinguisher with another recalled model.

Among the reasons for the recall problems, Kidde says it learned some of the replacement units were “damaged in transit,” adding that the company has since taken steps to provide working extinguishers to customers who received damaged devices.

So what can you do to make sure your fire extinguisher will work when you need it?

First, make sure it hasn’t been recalled.

Go to saferproducts.gov to check the model number.

If you have a recalled Kidde fire extinguisher, contact the company to have it replaced as soon as possible.

As for extinguishers in working order – make sure to place them where a fire is most likely to occur, like the kitchen and garage.

Also, regularly check the dial on the pressure gauge; it should always be within the green zone.

And check the manufacture date on your extinguisher. If yours older than 12 years, replace it.

If your extinguisher comes with a warranty card, fill it out so you can be notified if there’s a recall.

Make sure you and everyone in your family knows how to use an extinguisher.

You don’t want the first time you ever handle it to be when there’s an actual fire to put out.

Finally, always call 911 first if there’s a fire.

And remember home fire extinguishers are designed for small fires.

If you’re unable to put out the fire yourself, get out of the house immediately and remain a safe distance outside while you wait for professionals to arrive.

Our commenting policy has changed. If you would like to comment, please share on social media using the icons below and comment there.