For a long time we have been taught about the importance of having fire extinguishers in your house and today I wish to add our support to that and highlight a couple of very important points regarding proper use and maintenance of these life saving devices. The first thing to ensure is that whether you live in a house or a condominium, or an apartment that you have one, they can be bought at local hardware stores across the world. The second the to remember is that you need the right tool for the right job and in the case of most residential dwellings that means that you need a type ABC extinguisher, these will extinguish all of the most common materials in private homes. The third thing to remember is that they must be periodically checked for for damage and for pressure and some need to be serviced every so often . If this is not done the extinguisher may not be useable when it is needed. The forth point is that it has to be used properly, which means that when you are ready to use the extinguisher you pull the pin on the head ( aim the nozzle away from you), aim the nozzle at the base of the fire, squeeze the lever slowly and with even pressure, and sweep the nozzle from side to side ( P.A.S.S).
The final important point is that you need to understand that there are times when the fire has become too big to extinguish yourself and at that point trying to extinguish it could put your life in danger. When is that time you may ask? Well If it is not contained to a single, small space or if there are noxious fumes wafting from the fire into your face then that is a good indication that you need to get out, get everyone you can out, and leave the problem to professional firefighters.
For more info on this check out the USFAs guide to extinguishers and there use: