Portable extinguishers are for use on small fires only, but even small fires can be dangerous if extinguishers are used incorrectly. If the fire gets larger than about the size of a small trashcan, leave the area. You can be quickly overcome if you remain.
Become familiar with your portable fire extinguisher. If you don't have an extinguisher, purchase one at your earliest opportunity. For home use, we recommend no smaller than 5 pound, and a dry chemical with an ABC rating can be used in a variety of situations.
Fire Extinguishers are classified according to the types of fire they are designed to extinguish. Fires are divided into four classes: A, B, C, and D.
A. Ordinary combustibles - wood, paper, many plastics and other common materials.
B. Flammable liquids - gasoline, lacquers, solvents and other flammable liquids.
C. Electrical equipment - energized electrical equipment, circuit breakers and appliances.
D. Combustible metals.
Remember your extinguisher must fit the fire. Using an extinguisher that is not rated for the fire you are fighting will make the fire worse and increase the danger to you. Multipurpose dry chemical extinguishers are rated for all three of the most common types of fires, A, B and C.
*If you are going to fight the fire, remember this word...PASS
Pull the pin. Some extinguishers require releasing a lock latch, pressing a puncture lever, or other motion.
Aim Low. Point the extinguisher nozzle or hose at the base of the fire.
Squeeze the handle. This will start the flow of extinguishing agent
Sweep from side to side. Aim at the base of the fire until the fire appears to be out. Watch the fire area. If the fire starts again, be prepared to repeat the use of the extinguisher.
Safety points to Consider when fighting the fire:
Make sure everyone is leaving the area
Assign one person to call 9-1-1
Never Fight A Fire If:The fire is spreading beyond the immediate area where it started.
The fire could block your escape route.
You are unsure of the operation of the fire extinguisher.
You are in doubt about the fire extinguisher being the correct type for the fire you are facing. If in doubt, leave immediately, and close off the area. Let the professionals fight the fire.