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SFMO: Ensure Children Know When to “Stop, Drop, & Roll”

Children Often Confuse “Stop, Drop, & Roll” with Escaping House Fire
Monday, July 30, 2018 | 07:58am

NASHVILLE – Stop, drop, and roll is one of the oldest and most well-known fire safety messages, but it’s not the only fire safety message you or your family should remember during a fire emergency. The Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) reminds parents that children may get the ‘stop, drop and roll’ message confused with other equally important home fire safety messages. With a new school year on the horizon, the SFMO is encouraging parents to talk to their kids about when to stop, drop, and roll.  

“Teaching children to stop, drop, and roll when their clothes are on fire is an important step in ensuring they are fire safe, “ said Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Julie Mix McPeak. “It is important that children can differentiate stop, drop, and roll from what to do in a house fire. We encourage parents to talk to their kids about when stop, drop, and roll is necessary, and when to deploy other fire safety messages like ‘get out, stay out’.”

Make sure you and your family know what to do in case a clothing fire occurs:

If your clothes or body catch fire, then you should stop, drop, and roll. Stop immediately, drop to the ground, and cover your face with your hands. Roll over and over or back and forth until the fire is out.

  • If you use a wheelchair, scooter, or other device and are able to get to the floor, lock the device first to stay in place before getting on the floor to roll until the flames are out. If you cannot stop, drop, and roll, use a blanket or towel smother the flames.
  • Immediately remove loose clothing or clothing with elastic bands, as well as belts and jewelry.
  • Get medical help right away by calling 9-1-1. Use cool water to treat any resulting burns immediately for 3 to 5 minutes. Cover with a clean, dry cloth.  Do not apply creams, ointments, sprays or other home remedies.

To prevent clothes from catching on fire:

  • Wear short, close-fitting, or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking or grilling.
  • Teach children to never play with matches or lighters.
  • Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around fireplaces, candles, grills, and stoves.

In addition to talking to your kids about when to stop, drop, and roll, make sure they understand the following concepts to keep them safe:

  • If a smoke alarm sounds, ‘get out and stay out’.
  • If you must escape through smoke, stay low to the ground and move quickly.
  • Close doors behind you as you’re escaping to help quarantine the fire.
  • Never go back into a burning building for any reason.
  • Contact your local fire department and emergency responders once you are outside the burning structure.

For more information on how to keep your family fire safe and to download a free, high-resolution calendar, visit