COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Red Cross and Columbus Division of Fire are teaming up this month for the annual Sound The Alarm with the goal of decreasing home fire deaths and injuries in central and southern Ohio.

“Every day seven people in America die in house fires, and getting a smoke detector installed can reduce that by half,” says Columbus Fire Battalion Chief Jeffery Geitter. That’s why volunteers knocked on doors Saturday in east Columbus offering to install a free smoke alarm and educate people on fire safety.

The event began roughly two hours after two people died Saturday morning in a house fire in Madison Township that saw dozens of Columbus Fire vehicles head over to contain the blaze.

“We heard the tragic news this morning of two fatalities that happened and so prevention is worth a pound of cure. So we’re going out to install free smoke alarms,” said Cory Paul, the executive director for the Greater Columbus Chapter of the Red Cross.

When a fire breaks out, every second counts and Geitter said smoke actually kills more people than fire.

“You have two minutes to leave your home after the smoke alarms go off statistically, and it gives that family early warning to get out of the house, meet in front of the mailbox and save a life,” Paul said.

Smoke detectors absolutely do save lives, but it’s also important to know what to do to prevent a fire. Geitter also said that knowing two exits out of your home is extremely important when a fire breaks out.

“No one ever plans for a fire, so if you can have a plan with your family, discuss it ahead of time, where you’re going to get out, where you’re going to meet. Those kinds of things are really important,” he said.

If you miss the Sound The Alarm volunteers in your neighborhood, you can call Columbus Fire and they’ll install a smoke alarm for you at no charge.

The Smoke Alarm Hotline is 614-724-0935. This was just the first of 16 events in April for Sound The Alarm.

If you’d like to volunteer at any events or find out if Sound The Alarm is coming to your neighborhood, click here.