MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - On the chilly morning of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Day, Red Cross volunteers were on a mission.
"We're actually canvassing the neighborhoods in Moss Point for fire prevention safety," said Isaiah Hays.
Groups of volunteers went door to door throughout the city. Their goal is to help reduce house fire fatalities by 25 percent in the next few years.
"The first thing is we're hoping someone's home so we can educate them and make them knowledgeable about the fire hazards that can be lurking in their homes," Hays said.
If no one is there or the residents choose not to answer, volunteers leave a pamphlet on the door.
"If they are home we give them a little bit of information to make sure their smoke detector, fire alarm are working and when the last time they've checked their batteries, and if they have a fire escape plan," Hays said.
They also provide residents with a magnetic board to map out their fire escape plan and will install working fire detectors for people without them.
"While we can't prevent the fire from happening. We can certainly prevent people from dying in them," said the Red Cross Southeast Mississippi Chapter director John McFarland.
Red Cross leaders say this program fulfills a huge need.
"In 2015, we responded to about 700 disaster events in the southeast Mississippi chapter area and about 90 percent of them were fires," McFarland said.
Moss Point Fire Chief Tom Posey said providing information and fire safety tools to residents has a direct tie to Dr. King's legacy.
"Dr. King was all about service, and I think he dedicated his life to service, so we picked this day," he said.
Residents in homes needing a working fire detector will start hearing back from the Moss Point Fire Department about their free installation Tuesday.