BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Two dozen volunteers took to the streets of Baton Rouge Saturday in hopes of preventing house fires.
Going door to door in the Standard Heights neighborhood, volunteers from the Red Cross distributed free smoke detectors, while members of the Baton Rouge Fire Department installed them.
"I just like helping people and it makes me feel good inside," said Nia Newman.
"It's just a wonderful thing to do, we love helping the community," said Micki Newman, Nia's grandmother.
Ultimately, Red Cross leaders said their goal is that the alarms never have to do their job, especially in the 70805 zip code, which the Red Cross said has one of the highest fire rates in the state.
"We want to prevent fires in the first place," said Nancy Malone, the Public Affairs Director for the Red Cross of America's Louisiana Region.
Malone said there are several ways people can reduce the risk of fire. As most fires start in the kitchen, Malone said people should never walk away from the stove when cooking, especially when there is grease on the stove. An oven should also never be used to heat a house.
Also, as fall weather draws near, the Red Cross says people should not leave space heaters on overnight.
"When you go to bed, turn them off," Malone said. "Throw a few extra blankets on your bed."
In addition to ways to prevent fires, the volunteers also encouraged families and kids to create escape plans, so that in the event of a fire, everyone could make it out safely and meet up quickly.
They provided grid paper, which families could use to map out escape routes.
"When a smoke alarm goes off, you can have as little as 2 minutes to escape your home. That's very short time, especially if it's in the middle of the night, you're waking up trying to figure out is that my cell phone going off? Is it an alarm to wake me up?," Malone said. "You want to make sure everybody knows where to go, how to quickly get there, and most importantly do not go back in."
The Red Cross has additional fire preparedness events planned for the month ahead, including canvasing another Baton Rouge neighborhood.
They will be going door to door in Broadmoor on Oct. 17 and in Scotlandville on Oct. 24.
Those interested in volunteering should call the Red Cross at (225) 291-4533.