A portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives; but portable extinguishers have limitations. Because fire grows and spreads so rapidly, the number one priority for residents is to get out safely, using a predesignated home fire escape plan and meeting location. Once out, stay out! Never return for pets or personal items.
To operate a fire extinguisher, remember the word P-A-S-S:
Pull the pin.
Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.
Importance of an Exit Plan
Install fire extinguishers close to an exit and keep your back to a clear exit when you use the device so you can make an easy escape if the fire is not easily controlled. If the room fills with smoke, leave immediately. Never allow the fire to be between you and your exit.
Remember, fire extinguishers are only one element of a fire response plan, but the primary element is a safe escape. Every household should have a home fire escape plan and working smoke alarms. Smoke detectors should be tested monthly, and batteries changed every 6 months.