AUSTIN, Texas — As the holiday season draws closer and the weather gets colder, the threat of heating system fires increases.

To help protect the community American Red Cross hit the streets installing smoke alarms in people's homes. Many homeowners don't check the expiration date or forget to change the batteries on their smoke detector as often as they should.

"Going into some of these neighborhoods that have a need for smoke detectors we certainly want to reach out to them and provide smoke detectors to them and educate them about safety in the home," Geof Sloan, volunteer public information officer for the American Red Cross of Central Texas said.

A few times a year, the Red Cross goes door to door checking smoke detectors and even installing or replacing them for free.

The Red Cross gets recommendations on areas to canvas by the fire department and gets requests for help from residents themselves. On Saturday, volunteers focused their efforts on the Pecan Grove community.

The Red Cross also focuses on safety and discussing emergency plans with even the youngest residents.

"We will definitely be planning something. If there is a threat, we would plan where to go, how to get help immediately and to prepare for it," said Priscilla Alvares.

Alvares said she has some peace of mind knowing her and her family are protected.

"I'm safe if there is a fire problem or anything that I have safety with my parents," she said.

The Red Cross recommends checking your smoke alarms during time changes. Batteries should be replaced twice a year and detectors should be replaced every 10 years.

To request a free smoke alarm installation for your home, visit the Red Cross web site.