If a small fire breaks out and you have an extinguisher available to help put it out, you should quickly ask yourself a few questions to make sure you can actually put out the fire. The first question is:
Is this fire caused by burning wood or paper? Or is it burning plastic or rubber? If so, this is a type A fire. Type A fires commonly burn trash.
The next question is: Is this fire burning a liquid? Is that liquid a petroleum grease, tar, oil, or a solvent? If so, this is probably a type B fire.
A third question is: Is this fire caused by electricity? Is it coming from a power outlet or overloaded power strip? This is a class C fire.
Will my extinguisher put this fire out? Look at the label to see if your extinguisher will work on the fire. Most extinguishers work on multiple types of fires, such as the 5lb Buckeye ABC fire extinguisher.
Some final questions: Is there metal on fire? Do I work in a factory or industrial plant? If you do, this is a class D fire. Your facility should be prepared for the types of metal that can catch fire, such as magnesium, sodium, and potassium.