(CBS) — Every home should have one, but what’s the best one to get? And how do you know if the one you have even works?

CBS 2’s Chris Martinez looks at fire extinguishers.

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They are a last resort as a fire grows. Experts recommend keeping one in your kitchen where fires often start.

The problem is, we tend to forget about them.

“It’s one of those things you don’t ever think about replacing,” Carol Stream Fire Department Chief Perry Johnson says.

What’s the best kind to have?

John Drengenberg, Underwriters Laboratories Consumer Safety Director, notes there are extinguishers that combine Type A (for wood, paper and cloth); Type B (flammable) and Type C (electrical). Now, there’s a new standard — 711A — for residential kitchens.

“The 711A standard has additional requirements that cover cooking-type fires,” he says.

Having the right kind of extinguisher is only part of the equation. Where you keep it and how you maintain it can be just as important.

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CBS 2 accompanied Carol Stream firefighters  as they met with homeowners.

One homeowner showed Chief Johnson a model that had been kept in the garage for more than 10 years.

“I can tell you there’s no pressure at all in this fire extinguisher,” said.

A few blocks away, another homeowner showed Johnson a fire extinguisher that he kept under the kitchen sink. It was less than five years old.

“As you can see, this one was working,” Johnson said after testing that extinguisher.

What can you do to ensure yours will work if the time comes?

“Every month, just shake it. Make sure that the actual powder in here doesn’t compact,” Johnson says.

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There was a recall of fire extinguishers announced Thursday involving older Kidde models that may not discharge properly.