NEW PHILADELPHIA -- A home fire, it can happen to any family and result in tragedy more often than you might realize.

It can even lead to loss of life.

In conjunction with Red Cross Month, to the American Red Cross have joined forces with 99.9 WTUZ Radio and McDonald's Restaurants to Save the Day by urging area families to install and maintain smoke alarms and follow fire prevention tips.

Properly installed and maintained smoke alarms save lives every day across the country.

In an effort to save lives, on Saturday, March 10 from 10 a.m. till noon, the Red Cross will be distributing free smoke alarms and replacement batteries to area families at the Uhrichsville, New Philadelphia -- Boulevard, Cadiz and Carrollton McDonald's Restaurants.

Each household is eligible to receive one smoke alarm and/or one set of replacement batteries after filling out a pledge to prepare card. Supplies will be given out on a first come, first serve basis.

"On average, three families per month lose everything they own to a disaster," said Chad Conrad, Muskingum Lakes executive director. "Area residents can take simple actions to reduce the risk of a home fire tragedy by installing and maintaining a smoke alarm on every level of their home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Smoke alarms provide us with a few minutes of advance warning in the event of a home fire and the extra time can save lives."

Additional recommendations include:

Check smoke alarms monthly by pushing the test button.

Change the batteries in your alarms at least once a year. Install a new battery immediately if an alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low.

Teach children what the smoke alarm sounds like and what to do when they hear it.

Never disable a smoke alarm.

The Red Cross also recommends that families create and practice a home fire escape plan.

Fire escape plans should include at least two escape routes for every room in the home.

Families should choose a convenient meeting place outside of the home and practice their escape plan at least twice a year.

For more fire safety and preparedness information, visit www.redcross.org/homefires.

Serving Carroll, Harrison and Tuscarawas counties, the Muskingum Lakes Chapter is a humanitarian organization, led by volunteers, that provides relief to victims of disasters and helps people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies.

For information on Red Cross, visit www.mlcredcross.org or call 330-343-8633.