Millions of fire extinguishers commonly carried in commercial trucks are being recalled because of reports that they can fail to discharge during a fire emergency.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall Thursday for 134 models of Kidde fire extinguishers, manufactured between Jan. 1, 1973, and Aug. 15 of this year. The recall includes several models that were previously recalled in March 2009 and February 2015.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has issued a recall notice for motor vehicles and RVs equipped with the devices, estimating potentially 2.5 million such extinguishers to be affected by the recall.
According to NHTSA, Kidde will notify the affected vehicle manufacturers that equipped new vehicles with the extinguishers. Those manufacturers are expected to conduct recalls to notify owners of the issue. Kidde also will notify purchasers of any replacement or aftermarket fire extinguishers.
Owners will be instructed to contact Kidde for a replacement fire extinguisher, free of charge. A notification schedule has not yet been provided to the agency. Owners may contact Kidde customer service toll-free at 855-271-0773, or online at Kidde.com and click on “Product Safety Recall” for more information.
According to the recall notice, the fire extinguishers can become clogged or require excessive force to discharge and can fail to activate during a fire emergency. In addition, the nozzle can detach with enough force to pose an impact hazard. The commission recommends contacting the manufacturer for a replacement extinguisher.
The affected extinguishers have plastic handles and were sold in red, white and silver and are either ABC- or BC-rated.
The recall also includes eight models of Kidde’s Pindicator fire extinguishers manufactured from Aug. 11, 1995, to Sept. 22 of this year. The no-gauge, push-button extinguishers were sold in red and white, and with a red or black nozzle. These models were primarily sold for kitchen and personal watercraft applications.
At least one death has been attributed to the recalled fire extinguishers, after emergency responders were unable to get the device to work on a car fire in 2014. An additional 391 reports of failed or limited activation have been reported, along with about 16 injuries and 91 reports of property damage.
Commercial trucks and buses are required by law to be equipped with at least one fire extinguisher with an Underwriters’ Laboratories rating of 5 B:C or more; or two extinguishers with an Underwriters Laboratories rating of 4 B:C or more. Hazmat haulers must have a fire extinguisher with a rating of 10 B:C or more.
Roughly 134,000 citations were issued nationwide last year for violating the federal regulations regarding fire extinguishers, according to Duane DeBruyne, a spokesman for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. While not an out-of-service violation, DeBruyne says the violations does impact a driver’s Safety Measurement System score.