Is Stop Drop and Roll Still Taught?

April 15, 2022 12:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

If you grew up in the early 90s and 2000s (or had kids in school at the time), you might remember the classic “stop drop and roll” advice spread throughout the country in fire safety drills. For those who need a little refresher, “stop, drop, and roll” was a method for extinguishing a fire if your clothes caught the flames. Fire safety instructors taught children to pause where they were (stop), drop onto the ground (drop), and roll around on the ground until the flames were put out (roll). The simple little phrase made it easy for children and adults to remember even in times of panic.

“Stop, drop, and roll” is counterintuitive. When we’re on fire, our first instinct might be to run around, try to get away from the fire, or fight to take the garment that caught fire off. Neither of these actions is very logical or safe. They can cause other parts of our body or outfit to catch fire, which would be dangerous. Running also exposes the fire to more oxygen, which keeps it burning and may even make it burn hotter and spread faster.

When you drop for “stop, drop, and roll,” you should go into a prone position. Once you’re on the ground, you should also cover your face with both hands to help keep the flames from making contact with this vulnerable part of the body. As you roll over and smother the fire, you should not stop until the flames have been fully extinguished. This advice is still a good idea to have in mind in case you end up in a situation where your clothes are on fire. However, it’s no longer being taught to children in elementary school, middle school, or high school fire safety classes.

Unfortunately, the times are changing, and so is fire safety protocol. The well-known “stop, drop, and roll” method is not a feature of fire safety education anymore. The reason for this change is that these old fire safety teachings are now considered outdated. Instead of “stop, drop, and roll,” fire safety educators instruct children on more up-to-date methods of fire safety.

This kind of protocol can change based on new trends and emerging information. While it can be confusing for parents and educators to keep up with new fire safety protocols, having the most up-to-date and current fire safety drills helps keep our kids safe. Also, our kids can teach us the new fire safety techniques they learn from their fire safety drills. "Stop drop and roll" will probably stick with those of us who grew up learning about it in fire safety drills forever. It has a very catchy name and it’s easy to recall in stressful situations.

Still, we can always learn new ways to practice fire safety. The important thing is that children and adults know what to do in a fire emergency before it happens.


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