Racine fire tragedy leads firefighters to ask: Are you prepared?

RACINE -- Firefighters all over the area are encouraging other families to get a fire plan, and practice it. Three children died in a house fire in Racine and firefighters say planning ahead of time could save lives.

Peter Busalacchi is the North Shore Fire Battalion Chief. He says, "This is the one single thing you can do that really makes a difference in family’s life.” Most importantly is to have a working smoke detector on every floor of the home, and in every bedroom. Busalacchi explains, "If you can’t be alerted to a fire, you can’t be able to escape on your own.”

If your child does wake up to the sound of the alarm, the first thing they should do is get low and head to their bedroom door. He says they should check the doorknob with the back of their hand because that’s the most sensitive area of the hand. If the doorknob feels cool, the child should open the door to see if there's smoke or fire, if there is, they should close the door and on their knees, crawl over to their window. Then, Busalacchi says, "Unlock the window, open it, everything’s down at your knees. Know how to remove or lift the screen and then easily climb out of the window.”

He says an easily accessible window is important because the alternative could be dangerous, "If your window at home doesn’t operate easily then the result is a child or adult may have to break a window to get o ut and that creates a dangerous situation with broken glass.” Busalacchi also encourages families to come up with a meeting place in front of the home so that when firefighters arrive,they will know where everyone is and family members can start giving important information to first responders.