Part of the proper use of fire extinguishers entails knowing when you should or when you should not attempt to use the extinguisher to fight a fire. This article discusses some situations in which it would be prudent to refrain from trying to use a fire extinguisher to put out a fire.
Your Passage Could Be Blocked
You should never try to fight a fire with a fire extinguisher if that fire is threatening to block the only escape route that is available to you. It is normally advisable to use a fire extinguisher when you have access to an escape route in case the fire spreads. Leave as soon as you notice that your way out may be blocked by the fire.
Uncertainty About the Extinguisher's Type
Different types of fire extinguishers are manufactured to combat different kinds of fire. For example, the fire extinguisher that is intended to put out an electrical fire may not be suitable for putting out a fire that is burning your curtains. It is wise for you to refrain from using an extinguisher in case you are not sure about its suitability for a given type of fire that is raging. Such a futile attempt can delay your escape as the fire spreads unabated.
Ignorance of Fire Extinguisher Operation
A fire extinguisher can only be effective in putting out a fire if it is used correctly. For example, the fire extinguisher may not have any effect if the person using it doesn't point the nozzle towards the base of that fire. Refrain from trying to use a fire extinguisher in case you have never been trained on how to use that device.
Rapidly Spreading Fires
Many fire extinguishers are designed to discharge a fire-fighting substance, such as dry powder, for a few seconds before the canister is emptied. One should therefore only use the extinguisher on a fire that has just broken out. Never waste precious time trying to combat a fire that has started spreading beyond the point where it broke out. Use that time to get as far away from the fire as possible.
The outbreak of a fire can cause you to go into panic mode. Try and think clearly about the wisdom in trying to fight that fire using the available extinguisher. Avoid trying to combat that fire in case any of the circumstances above exists. Let professional firefighters take on that inferno while you are out of harm's way.