Stop Drop and Roll

Three Lifesaving Steps If Clothes are Burning

Stop drop and roll
Cover your face and roll over and over to put out the flames. Image © Melanie Martinez

If clothes catch fire they can spread very quickly, engulfing the victim in flames. Certain types of clothing, especially synthetic fabrics, may melt and stick to skin. The best way to reduce injury from the flames is to extinguish the burning fabric as quickly as possible.


To put out burning clothing, take these three steps:

  1. Stop
    Don't run or wave your arms. Movement will fan the flames and cause the burns to be more severe.
  1. Drop
    Get on the ground quickly and cover your face with your hands.
  2. Roll
    Try to smother the flames by rolling over and over. Pay attention to what's burning and focus on putting out that area of your body.

    It's helpful to roll up into a rug or thick, nonflammable material (such as tent canvas) to help smother the flames. Don't roll into a thin blanket, sheet or plastic because you may accidentally catch that material on fire also.

    Others can help you douse the flames by patting the fire with their hands or other material. Use water or a fire extinguisher to put out the fire if one is available.

As soon as the fire is out, cool the area and treat any burns. Call 911 for any burns that resulted from flaming clothing.

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