New warning about fire extinguishers

Fire extinguishers need to be easily accessible and need to be replaced every 10 years, according to fire department officials in Morris Township, New Jersey.
4:48 | 03/27/17

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Transcript for New warning about fire extinguishers
We are back now with a new warning about fire extinguishers. Not knowing how old yours is or how to use it could put your family at risk. ABC's gio Benitez is back joining us from the Morris county public safety academy in New Jersey. Good morning, gio. Reporter: Hey, robin, good morning to you. Listen, fire extinguishers can stop those small fires from turning into raging infernos and really you just buy them, forget about them and don't touch them until you need it so do you know how to use these things? Will they even work? We're going to put them to the test in just a moment but first take a look at this. We're in Morris township, new Jersey, going door to door with the local fire department making sure residents and their fire extinguishers are good to go in the event of a blaze. I'm gio, we're with "Good morning America." Hi, gio. I'm lil. Reporter: While everyone we do meet has a fire extinguisher. You have it right by the door. You know exactly where it is. Reporter: Just having one always isn't enough and now we're putting residents to the test. First up, expiration dates. Experts say you need to replace an extinguisher every ten years. Here's why, Ron has a perfectly good extinguisher but out in his garage. Take a look at that. This one is in the red. When was the last time you checked in one? I don't know. Is this possible? 1981. Yes. Reporter: That's right. His ex-tintinguisher is 36 years old. Our fire team setting up a controlled blaze. Pressing the handle, nothing. Now when you look at that and think, oh, boy, if there was a fire -- Oh, yeah. In the garage. You'd be in trouble. Very much so. Reporter: 1981, unlike a bought of wine it doesn't get better with age. Crucial, location. Experts say fire extinguishers need to be easily accessible, definitely not under the kitchen sink where we found Meredith Kimmel's. Here it is under the sink. Under the sink. Reporter: In the event of a kitchen fire chief Jesse Carr says you might not ever get to it. You want it away from the stove. Not only that but we realize the safety pin is missing. Compromising its integrity. We place a brand-new one close to an exit, a safe distance from any harmful flames. Come on in. Reporter: Let's go inside. Down the block we meet Dana, mother of two. Hers also under the sink but her issue, she admits she doesn't know how to use it. Let's test it. Sure enough when the heat is on, she doesn't pull the pin wasting valuable time. I don't even know how to. Reporter: After 20 critical seconds she finally figures it out. It was hairy there for a second because you didn't know how to use it. You didn't know you had to pull the pin out first. So experts say there is a simple acro Namm, P.A.S.S., pull the pin, you'll aim, you'll squeeze and you're going to sweep at the base of the fire. But if you're not comfortable or you can't put it out in 30 seconds or less, just get out. So don't try to be the hero. Do not try to be the hero. Let the fire department handle it. They're equipped and trained to handle larger fires. Reporter: Going home with two. Reporter: They're equipping all our families with two brand-new fire extinguisher, one suited to tackle small fires in your home. You get a new extinguisher. How do you like that? Reporter: And so you hear that noise there in the background. We'll give you a demo. This is important. You see this, you want to make sure your fire extinguisher has a gauge. You want to make sure it's in the green just like this. That it's ready to go. Check that every month. But guess what, if it's ten years old, robin, just get rid of it. Get a new one. You want to make sure it works. Good advice there, so you know, we all know fires can get out of hand so quickly. When do you know to call the fire department? Well, robin, you always want to go ahead and call 911 right away no matter the fire. Get everyone safely out of the house. But, if you have a small fire perhaps like a stovetop you want to remember that acronym, P.A.S.S., you want to go ahead and pull the pin, you want to aim at the base of the fire, you want to squeeze and you just want to sweep and when it is out, you want to go ahead and get out of that room right away, out of that house and get to 911. Call them right away. Yes, small fire. Not the fire that we just saw you. Something else we should look for on the fire extinguisher, is there some marking we should look for? Reporter: Yeah, you always want to look for this ul listed here. You see that, that means it is certified. It is ready to go so you want to look for that. All right, gio, thanks a lot.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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