YOUR KITCHEN'S MOST INDISPENSABLE APPLIANCE: A FIRE EXTINGUISHER
 
Although most kitchen appliances make life more convenient for you, the one that will provide you with some degree of assurance that your house won't burn down is a fire extinguisher.

If you're not sure a kitchen fire extinguisher is a necessity, consider this cooking is the largest single cause of home fires, and statistics from the National Fire Protection association indicate that home fires and civilian deaths are both on the rise.

Portable fire extinguishers for the home, which can be purchased for under $20, fall into three general categories according to the kind of fires they fight. Air-pressured water extinguishers handle ordinary fires, such as burning wood, cloth, paper and many plastics while carbon dioxide and dry chemical extinguishers can be used on fires involving flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil and grease, and to extinguish fires caused by energized electrical equipment including electric kitchen appliances. Read up on the extinguisher's features to determine the type that best suits your needs.

To use the fire extinguisher properly, follow the written instructions that come with unit, aim low at the base of the fire, squeeze the handle and sweep the unit from side to side.

At under $20, a portable fire extinguisher will be one of your least expensive kitchen appliances. If one day it happens to save your home or your life, it will be the most important appliance you ever bought.