When it comes to teaching kids what to do if their clothing catches fire, it all starts with “Stop, Drop, and Roll”. It is taught, for good reason, in elementary school. This is part of an ongoing effort to teach children fire safety. Parents teach children to stay away from anything that is on fire, which is great. However, don’t ever underestimate the benefits that come with knowing to stop, drop, and roll.
The Basics of Stop, Drop, and Roll
If you ever have clothing that catches fire, STOP where you are. DROP right down to the ground, covering your eyes and your mouth with your hands. ROLL back and forth, smothering the flames, not stopping until all the flames are out. Then, get help from a grown-up to help with the burns, as they can call for medical assistance.
Kids regularly get confused about how to perform stop, drop, and roll properly. As an educator or parent, it is important you stress when to stop, drop, and roll. ONLY do it when their clothing is actually on fire, not just if they see a fire or hear a smoke alarm going off. If you stop, drop, and roll at the wrong time, it could be dangerous to the child.
Kids Need to Know How to Be Safe Around Fires
Kids need to learn to stay away from anything that could cause their clothing to catch fire, like gas, fireplaces, grills, lighters, heaters, and matches. Burns hurt, which is why they need to avoid things that could ignite their clothing. Learning young that you stay away from fire is the best way to avoid getting hurt. This is a great video to share with your kids about when to use stop, drop, and roll properly.
Make Sure Your Kids Know the Fire Escape Plan
It is important that you create a fire escape plan from your home. You should plan at least two ways out of the house. Every second counts in a fire, so make sure every member of the family knows how to get out and where to meet. Even a couple seconds can make a difference when it comes to getting out of the house safely. This plan should be practiced at least two times per year, including allowing the kids to get out on their own, just in case you aren’t able to help them during a real fire.
When you leave your home, and are sure no one is left behind you, close doors as you exit. This can help slow the spread of the smoke and the fire. No matter what, once you get out, stay out. It is the firefighter’s job at that point to help with anything left in the home.
NATIONAL FIRE PROTECTION ASSOCIATION • 1 BATTERYMARCH PARK • QUINCY, MA 02169 • © 2012