Putting out a small fire, or containing it until the fire department arrives, with a portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property; but portable fire extinguishers do have their limitations. Fire can spread and grow so rapidly, the #1 priority for you is to get out safely. If you are ever in doubt, GET OUT!
Use a portable fire extinguisher when the fire is confined to a small area, such as a wastebasket, and is not growing; everyone has exited the building; the fire department has been called or is being called; and the room is not filled with smoke.
When its time to operate a fire extinguisher, remember the word PASS:
-Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you, and release the locking mechanism.
-Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
-Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
-Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.