The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) is basically a United States of America organization in liaison with a few international members charged with the responsibility of creating and ensuring that minimum standards of fire prevention and suppression functions or activities and trainings on fire safety are enforced.
This organization was initiated in 1896, with its initial members being only insurance companies, today NFPA, Has got representatives from basically the entire society, this has been necessitated with the ever growing economies and the fact that fire related incidences are no longer preserve for the insurance industry alone but all that it affects both directly and indirectly.
In order to leave up to its responsibilities NFPA, launched a campaign that was meant to educate the public and specifically children on how to handle situations where they are faced with fire accidents/when their clothes catches fire dubbed Stop, drop and roll. This campaign was to reduce the incidences of fire accidents on the target audience as well as increase awareness on the same. In order to achieve the above the organization did partner with other stakeholders in that are concerned with the same issues(fire safety)in order to drive the message home, NFPA, Developed educational materials that were used in the training and educating students on how to take precautionary measures against fire as well as the STOP, DROP, and ROLL campaign, as well as training scouts and girl guides who are best positioned to assist fellow students master the skills of the Stop, drop and roll campaign as well as assist casualties in the community.
Safety is basically paramount and a major concern in our day to day lives since a single day that each person lives is actually made up of many activities that in themselves act as hazards and threats to the human life. In the modern world where most accidents that occur in the industries, in school or at home where many think is more safer are being caused by fire or fire related, more and more importance is now being attached to establishing ways and means by which such accidents that are fire related can be prevented or reduced.
In order to achieve the above goal the National Fire Protection Agency did start a campaign to help educate the public on ways and means in which they can avoid and help themselves out when their clothes catch fire, dubbed, STOP,DROP and ROLL campaign. This campaign was deemed fit due to the fact that more and more people did not know how to react or what to do when their clothes catch fire and also due to the fact most clothes that people put on are generally inflammable and can easily catch fire, but the question that lingers in everyone’s mind is what’s next after your clothes have caught fire? This paper thus seeks to provide an answer, Stop, Drop and Roll, and in the same context provide an expose of the National Fire Protection Agency and their stop, drop and roll program.
In 2002 from February to August, both quantitative data relating the number of people affected by fire in the home and qualitative data relating to the level of severity or the impact of the fire on the victims were collected from the members of the community by the metropolitan fire brigade in conjunction with the National Fire protection Authority with the sole aim of determining or researching on how various people behaved when faced with a fire accident in the home or in their surroundings and also on how their actions, in a bid to protect themselves were influenced by the fire safety regulations and messages provided by the National Fire Protection Authority and the Metropolitan fire brigade.(Human behavior in the fire research project,2003)Questionnaires were also administered to the respondents, who were in this case past victims of fire accidents with the view of getting first hand information from them. The findings of this research therein culminated to the development of the Stop, drop and roll campaign by the National fire protection Agency.
The General objective of this campaign was to educate the public on how to handle fire accidents or situations where their clothes catches fire through equipping them with the knowledge on what to do in such circumstances.
The specific objective of the program was actually to reduce the number of injuries caused by fire burns and even casualties, to inculcate the importance of fire safety measures to the general public and also to impart life skills to the future generations by educating school going children on how to carry out themselves when faced with a fire accident/when their clothes catch fire
The Stop, Drop and Roll campaign basically hinges on the fact that every year approximately more than 15,000 get serious burns when their clothes or garments catch on fire. Research shows that more than 50% of the fire incidences that occur, flammable vapors or liquids were actually around or near a persons clothes. ( Metropolitan Fire Brigade n.d) Ones loose sleeves or hanging clothes may easily catch fire while cooking on a hot stove or gas burner, or when one lights up a match stick in a house that has leaking gas, the clothes can easily catch fire. When this happens the campaign stipulates that running is the last option that one should resort to as it makes the flame increase thus posing oneself to more dangers of serious burns and injuries, to minimize the same stop, drop and roll. It has been identified that burns are the third leading causes of emergency or unintentional deaths in the United States of America and especially when the burn affect the most delicate parts of the body like the Heart, groins, lungs as well as the face, the healing process tend to be painful and long lasting and may even have a total negative effect on the victim especially if the face is burnt.
Different clothes have varying susceptibility to fire, in that some are less inflammable and may not catch fire easily while others are highly inflammable. Heavier clothes like cotton with a well knit weave burn slowly than a loose knit one. Clothes that hang loosely on the body are easier to catch fire than those that fit tightly on the body. (Human behavior in the fire research project, 2003)Synthetic fibers like acrylic and nylon are dangerous since they burn faster and even melt, providing more pain to the victim. On the other hand a combination of natural fibers like cotton and the synthetic fibers provide a greater hazard than the former and the latter. In order to reduce the impact of fire on the in house clothes like curtains, a spray with flame retardants would be appropriate however this ought not to be done to clothing.
The STOP, DROP and ROLL campaign by the National Fire protection agency provides the following principles that should be followed when ones clothes catches fire.
Stop, and do not run when the clothes are on fire, this is so because running actually increases the burning fire and this can be detrimental to the victim. (Your safety, n.d) The next step involves Dropping to the ground or floor depending on the environment in a prone position. In cases environments where there are hard objects cares should be taken to avoid further injuries from occurring. In the process the victim should cover his/her face with the hands to protect the face from the flames as well as close the mouth to avoid inhaling the poisonous gases from the burning cloth. And lastly roll over and over the floor, this helps smother the fire, this process should continue until the flame is extinguished. This three tier process is further complemented by cooling the burn once the fire is out, treating the injury and eventually seeking for assistance by calling 9-1-1.
This campaign was basically targeted to the general community with particular emphasis being made to children who are more vulnerable to burns from fire than the elderly. It’s also notable that children basically form the largest high risk group to fire accidents in the society.
In order to pass this message to the target audience the National Fire Protection Agency did adopt the a number of strategies among which included passing the information persuading the public to adopt the behavior change from running when ones clothes catches fire to the most appropriate mode, stop, drop and roll.( Grisanzio,1996) The first strategy was the circulation of video tapes showing the process that one needs to follow in the stop, drop and roll campaign when the clothes catches fire.
The National Fire Protection Agency also did develop a curriculum that was used to teach children on fire safety. This curriculum provided a review of the types of fires, fire assessments and ways and means in which one can keep safe from fire, all done through a multi media visual presentation thus giving the students an opportunity to participate in a drill on how to stop, drop and roll and also on how to use the portable fire extinguishers. In addition the National Fire protection agency in liaison with the Public education office in Aluche County did offer educational programs tailored to all the targeted audiences, the pre schooled and the school going children, touching on the methods of fire and injury prevention as well as the general public safety.( FESA, 2000) To ensure that the information reached a larger audience printed literature was availed covering each and every topic extensively.
Television and Newspaper advertisements were also used to pass the message of Stop, drop and roll as well as the hazard of using the electric blankets over the winter period. For instance Channel 10, basically helped in the publicizing the start of the campaign over the safety concerns over winter.( Grisanzio, 1996) A phone number that could be of help to people who want to get more information about fire safety was also provided to ensure that the campaign message is well understood. Due to the fact that the accidents can occur at any given time be it day or night, the telephone lines were basically to remain open 24hours for easy access of information by the public.
The organization in a bid to increase the impact of the message on the target audience also organized and budgeted for training seminars for the scouts, girl guides as well as the St Johns ambulance youth’s who were trained on the stop, drop and roll drills with the expectation that being that their day to day activities involve saving lives they would be in a better position to educate the public well and even effectively save more lives given the knowledge.( Grisanzio, 1996) This strategy proved efficient as it was well focused to the principal target audience :children, in that the scouts and the girl guides are majorly composed of young and youthful school children, thus passing the information directly to the target audience.
All these combined did make it possible for the Stop, drop and roll campaign to be successful as more and more of the target audience got to at least understand the three words, stop, drop and roll within the first 6 months of inception.
Conclusion and recommendations:
In summery the stop, drop and roll campaign is basically a good campaign given the fact that more and more people across the globe are succumbing to injuries related to fire accidents. The initiation of the campaign by the National Fire Protection Agency is basically a step towards the right direction since it will inform and educate many people especially children who constitute the high risk group when it comes to fire accidents.
Basing on the fact that life skills like swimming safety measures and many others are increasingly being sought after by many people due to the complexities of life in the current world I would recommend that the STOP, DROP, and ROLL campaign be done with the view of having everyone getting equipped with the skills and not just the target audiences: children where much emphasis is currently being laid on.
Country fire Authority and metropolitan fire brigade (n.d) 2001 winter fire safety campaign
Fire and emergency services authority-FESA (2000) Short report on community safety
Grisanzio, J.A (1996) what do the Americans know about fire safety? NFPA Journal, May/June
Human behavior in fires (2003) Research project volume 2.
Metropolitan Fire Brigade (n.d) Fire Ed. Primary schools fire safety program. Grade prep.
Your safety (n.d) stop drop and roll.[available at]