Thirty-Five Years of Stop, Drop & Roll and More

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Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation has served thousands of burn survivors and prevented countless burn injuries.

When they do, we are here for them, with a wide array of services to help them return to physical and psychological health.

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The organization that brought the country “Stop, Drop and Roll” is turning 35 this year. Like many other nonprofit organizations, the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation’s (AARBF’s) success is best demonstrated by something that mostly goes unnoticed - when Californians DON’T experience burn injuries.

AARBF ( was founded by the parents of an eight-year-old girl killed by burns suffered in a tragic backyard barbecue accident. Together with Southern California firefighters and the medical staff who treated the young girl, the family built an organization that today reaches hundreds of burn survivors and their families each year throughout California. Working closely with most of the fire departments in California, AARBF burn and fire prevention messages reach thousands of Californian every year.

“The Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation addresses important needs, including teaching people of all ages how to avoid burn injuries, and helping survivors through the long process of recovery after a burn injury occurs,” said Scott Vandrick, Executive Director of AARBF. Burn survivors face one of the most painful injuries possible and a lifetime of medical care. Young burn survivors often experience as many as 30 or 40 surgeries in their lifetime and endure the additional challenge of the stares and questions of those who don’t understand. “It is our role to support them all the way,” he continued.

If you know to “Stop Drop and Roll” if your clothes catch on fire, you have benefited from extensive public education campaigns of AARBF starting in the early 1970s. AARBF coined the phrase and accompanying symbols to help make it clear to children that if their clothing catches fire they should, instead of running and fanning the flames, stop, drop to the ground, and roll to put out the flames. It is a technique credited with saving many people from what could have been more severe injuries or death and one that has been taught around the world to millions of children. “Cool-a-Burn” is another prevention campaign of AARBF and is a simple slogan to remind people to immediately treat a burn by applying cold water (not butter or ice) to help prevent damage and preserve the skin.

AARBF ( also piloting Fire F.R.I.E.N.D.S, a pioneering juvenile firesetter program, in several counties in the state. The program seeks to train firefighters and other public safety responders how to identify and work with juvenile firesetters who are responsible for hundreds of structural fires throughout the state each year. By identifying and intervening early with these children millions of dollars in property damage and possible injuries or death can be avoided.

“Unfortunately, despite our best prevention efforts, children and adults will have accidents and suffer burns,” said Vandrick. “When they do, we are here for them, with a wide array of services to help them return to physical and psychological health.”

AARBF hosts a variety of programs for burn survivors including support groups and a special free summer camp for young survivors, Champ Camp, staffed entirely by volunteers. More than 1,300 children have attended Champ Camp – most returning throughout their childhood. “My experiences at Champ Camp has been some of the best of my life,” says Antoinette, age 19, a camper who attended Champ Camp for 4 years and now serves as a counselor in training. “It’s a place where I could be with others who are burned, show my scars in public for the first time, and be accepted for who I am.”

“This is a great milestone for AARBF,” said David Miller, President of the Executive Board of Directors and Director of Corporate Affairs for Applied Materials. “It is a time to reflect on our successes and say thank you to those who made it possible. There is still a lot of important work to be done in the areas of burn prevention and survivor assistance and we are committed to doing this work until the day we achieve the dreams of the founders—that through prevention and education we can reduce burn injuries to a point, we are no longer needed.”

The Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation, a California-based nonprofit organization, is dedicated to improving the lives of burn survivors and promoting burn prevention. The organization is entirely supported by donations and has offices in Burbank, Fresno and San Francisco California. For more information about the services and programs, volunteer opportunities or to make donations, visit or call 1-800-242-BURN.

Scott Vandrick
(818) 848-0223 Ext. 12 Phone

Or Dave Miller
(650) 851-5704


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