Staying Ready

A fire extinguisher can lose pressure over time, rendering it useless when you need it. But if you're the type who forgets to peek at your gauges periodically, consider this sensor system from MIJA, called EN-Gauge. It runs on a 9-volt battery and keeps track of the extinguisher's pressure. If the gauge gets low, it flashes a red light and sounds an alert, reminding you to get the extinguisher refilled. It also sounds an alert when the extinguisher has been pulled from the wall, as it would be during a fire. And like a smoke detector, the sensor beeps when the battery is low.

A more elaborate version can be wired to a house's security system; the alarm company gets a signal when the extinguisher is used and can, in turn, call 911. Cost is around $200 for the stand-alone model or around $100 per extinguisher for the security system model, not including fees and installation.

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