ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A 105-year-old partnership between Albemarle County Fire Rescue and The American Red Cross came together to canvas neighborhoods this weekend and bring awareness to fire safety. 

“We select neighborhoods that are older and have homes that may not have smoke alarms already installed in them. We just go door to door and knock on doors and ask if people have working smoke alarms and if they don’t we ask if they don’t mind if we install them for them,” Emily Pelliccia, Deputy Chief of Community Risk for ACFR.

“We also when we go in, we don’t just install smoke alarms we do a home fire safety plan with that family,” Bill Brent, Executive Director of American Red Cross Central Virginia Chapter.

ACFR says the leading cause of house fires is cooking. 

“Sometimes when people fall asleep when they start cooking something and forget or they start cooking something and just go sit down and that’s why we really say please don’t ever leave your kitchen when you’re cooking,” Pelliccia says.

Smoke detectors have a life span of 10 years, but ACFR and the red cross say people should check them twice a year and a good reminder of that is when they change their clocks.

“And it’s a way to help them ensure that if they do have a home fire that they can escape safely. And we know that having a working smoke alarm increases their chances of doing that by 50%,” Brent says.

The partnership is using this opportunity to bring awareness and be more proactive. 

“Here’s the thing about the red cross is that we call them all the time. We have a great partnership but we call them after the fire. And this is a tremendous opportunity for us to get further upstream and get ahead of the fire and potentially prevent it and keep it from happening,” Pelliccia said.

“The American Red Cross mission is to prevent and alleviate human suffering,” Brent said.

Albemarle County Fire Rescue is extending an invitation to anyone who may want their smoke detectors checked to give them a call and they will come out and install free smoke alarms.