SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Volunteers of the American Red Cross of Southeast Georgia shared free fire safety resources to at-risk communities in their annual Sound the Alarm campaign.

“This is a life saving activity of Red Cross. We’re meeting with residents at their door step to talk to them about keeping themselves, their homes and their families safe,” said Maria Center, Executive Director of the Southeast Georgia chapter of Red Cross.

Red Cross volunteers visited the homes of several at-risk communities across the Hostess city. Some of those included the southwest Savannah communities of Liberty City, Tremont Park and Brownsville.

“In Georgia we’ve seen a 25% increase in home fires and apartment fires, so we’re helping citizens prepare escape plans and helping them practice their two minute drill, because on average you only have two minutes to get out of a burning home,” added Center.

Savannah currently ranks as one of the 50 most at-risk cities across the country to have a house suffer from fire damage. Some of the factors of an at-risk community include houses that are older in age, houses that have outdated fireplaces, and houses without working smoke detectors.

In the first three months of 2021, Americans have faced 16% more house fires than they did during the same period in 2020.

Red Cross encourages households to have an escape plan in order. They recommend at least two exits out of each room, and to check the batteries in your smoke detectors at least twice a year.

This annual initiative is a key part of the Red Cross’ home fire campaign that has saved at least 864 lives nationally, and 22 in Georgia since its launch in 2014.

The houses visited by Red Cross had already had fire alarms that were provided by the non-profit and installed by Savannah Fire Department personnel.

You can click here to learn more and pledge to prepare your family against future home fires.