The U.S Fire Administration (USFA) recommends individuals be properly trained in order to use and maintain an extinguisher. USFA says an extinguisher should only be used if:
- You have alerted other occupants and someone has called the fire department.
- The fire is small and contained to a single object, such as a wastebasket.
- You are safe from toxic smoke produced by the fire.
- You have a means of escape identified and the fire is not between you and the escape route.
- Your instincts tell you that is safe to use an extinguisher.