More than 40 million fire extinguishers – some on the market for more than four decades – are being recalled in the US and Canada because they may not work in an emergency.
One death and 16 injuries have already been linked to problems with the extinguishers made by Kidde, a notice from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said on Thursday (2 November).
Faults include the extinguisher becoming clogged, failing to spray and the nozzle flying off with such force it can cause injury.
Including the death, the CPSC says there have been 391 reports of extinguishers failing to work properly or of nozzles coming off, resulting in 16 injuries that included smoke inhalation and minor burns.
There were a further 91 reports of property damage linked to the problem.
One incident in 2014 saw extinguishers fail to function as they should for emergency personnel responding to a fiery car wreck.
Consumers are being asked to check the model number, serial number and date code printed on the fire extinguisher label.
The recall covers 134 models of push-button and plastic-handle extinguishers in the US and Canada made from 1973 through to 15 August of this year.
It includes models that were previously recalled in March of 2009 and February of 2015.
The affected models were sold in red, white and silver, and are either ABC or BC rated, the CPSC said.
They were sold at Menards, Montgomery Ward, Sears, Home Depot, Wal-Mart and other home and hardware stores, as well as on Amazon.com, ShopKidde.com and assorted online retailers. They were also sold for use in commercial trucks, recreational vehicles and boats.
The full list of model numbers being recalled can be seen on the CPSC website here.
Kidde, based in Mebane, North Carolina, says it has worked closely with the government to start the recall and make sure the extinguishers are replaced with different models as quickly as possible.
The company also makes smoke detectors and other fire safety products.
Owners should contact Kidde to ask for a free replacement and for instructions on how to return recalled models. Kidde can be reached at +1 (855) 271-0773 or at www.kidde.com .