CARTHAGE, Mo. — Residents in Carthage got a hand up in house fire prevention, today.

The American Red Cross of Southern Missouri partnered up with the Carthage Fire Department to provide and install free smoke alarms for those in need of them.

The alarms were provided by the American Red Cross of Southern Missouri as a part of its National Sound the Alarm campaign.

Not only did the fire department install the alarms, they also provided fire escape plans for families, unique to each house.

Since July 1st of last year, the Red Cross of Southern Missouri has responded to more than 1,200 house fires, assisting of 4,000 people with recovery needs.

Just today, 88 smoke alarms were installed in 29 Carthage homes.

“House fires are the largest the number one disaster that the American Red Cross responds to nearly every night here in southern Missouri. Every week, we respond to four to seven home fires throughout the year. It’s vital that you have a smoke detector in your home to help you get out of that house in time. Two minutes, two minutes is all you have to get out of a home if that smoke alarm goes off to alert you, and they’re vital to be able to save a life,” said Stacy Burks, Executive Director, American Red Cross Southern Missouri.

Burks insists that you test your smoke alarms at least once a month.

You can call the Red Cross of Southern Missouri at 417-832-9500, and listen for option two for more information on setting up the installation.