Used properly, a portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small, contained fire or containing it sufficiently to allow escape. Fire extinguishers are considered first aid equipment for controlling and putting out small fires before they become large ones. However, they are no substitute for the fire department. Having the proper fire extinguisher, as well as knowing how to use it and how not to use it is important in safeguarding your family and your household.
Please take some time to watch this video produced by FEMA on the proper operation of a portable fire extinguisher.
The different types of fire extinguishers are explained in this link. It also contains very valuable information on incorporating a fire extinguisher into your family's home escape plan. It includes printouts that can easily be posted in your home for quick reference.