Editor’s Note: This is an update of a report we first published in 2015
Along with floating keychains, fenders, and a scrub brush, fire extinguishers rank among the most ubiquitous pieces of marine gear. Every powerboat has at least one aboard, and many boaters carry more than what is required. That’s a smart thing, I think, when one considers that a hand-held fire extinguisher gives its user just seconds to put out a fire.
It’s also notable that a fire extinguisher’s effectiveness relies as much upon its size and type as it does upon the person wielding it. A calm demeanor and resolute action when a fire breaks out results from thinking through emergency plans in advance. With the exception of those among us who are firefighters, that forethought is all most of us have to rely upon. I’m a believer in the power of self-hypnosis with respect to boating safety. Repetitive forethought leads to instant and total recall. For all that, safe-boating courses provide rudimentary instruction in the operation of fire extinguishers; check with your local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadron. Check with your local fire department about fire-extinguisher instruction and demo days. We at Boating produce content that’s intended to be instructional and get the gears of forethought moving in boaters’ minds before the gull guano hits the bilge blower. For instance, visit boatingmag.com/how-to/how-to-use-fire-extinguisher. All of the forethought, training and preparation in the world might come to naught if the damn fire extinguisher is defective. And chances are, the extinguishers aboard your boat are defective.
According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, some 40 million Kidde fire extinguishers with plastic handles are being recalled as of November 2017. The extinguishers in question fail at the nozzle and/or fail to discharge. They were sold for use in homes, autos and boats. The extinguishers were sold in red, white and silver, and are either ABC- or BC-rated. The recall involves 134 models of Kidde fire extinguishers manufactured between January 1, 1973, and August 15, 2017, including models that were previously recalled in 2009 and 2015. One death is attributed to the defective fire extinguishers.
What You Need To Do
Visit www.cpsc.gov/Recalls and scroll down to the Kidde fire extinguisher recall page. You’ll find a list of affected fire extinguishers, many of which bear brand names other than Kidde. Call Kidde toll-free at 855-271-0773 or visit the company online at kidde.com and click on “Product Safety Recall” for more information on getting your extinguishers replaced.