Fire Extinguisher Caution

House fires are the leading cause of fire deaths in the United States. Hundreds die every year, and most fires start in the kitchen. Consumer Reports just tested fire extinguishers.

Testers show us which to buy, and which to avoid.

Consumer Reports tested more than a dozen extinguishers, including seven smaller ones convenient for the kitchen.

Also tested-two new types of aerosol sprays.

Testers created fires using a flammable liquid to see how well each one could battle a blaze.

John Galeotafiore of Consumer Reports says, "Most did well, but the two aerosol sprays sometimes caused the fire to flare up. And while they may look a lot like fire extinguishers, they're not."

But you wouldn't get that from the First Alert Tundra unless you read the fine print.

Galeotafiore says, "Another problem, these cans don't have a pressure indicator, so there's no way of knowing if they're ready to use, which is critically important."

Therefore, Consumer Reports rates the Kitchen Guard and First Alert Tundra aerosol sprays a 'Don't Buy."

A better choice for your kitchen, one from Kidde. It's the $19 model FX10K. It was easy to use and quickly extinguished the test fires.

Besides having a fire extinguisher in your kitchen, Consumer Reports says it's important to have multi-purpose extinguishers on every floor of your home.

Top-rated in tests-the $36 Kidde model FX-340-GW. An important safety check when buying an extinguisher: Check that the pressure indicator registers "full."

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