By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) —  The  Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania has teamed up with Red Paw Emergency Relief, an animal safety organization, for “Fire Safe Fridays.”

“It’s just unacceptable that we lose a family due to fire,” says Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes, CEO of the American Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania. “We’ve already lost three people this year. It just means we’ve got to be aggressive.”

Hughes says that every Friday, Red Cross and Red Paw volunteers will canvas a neighborhood in Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery, Chester, or Delaware counties, leaving nine-volt batteries for smoke alarms and safety literature.

“This is a way for us to proactively put fire safety information in families’ hands, and to encourage them to have a fire safety plan for themselves and for their pets,” she says.

Red Paw founder (and firefighter) Jennifer Leary says it’s important that families keep their pets in mind when putting together a fire escape plan.

“When you’re sleeping at night, keep your pets confined close to you,” advises Leary. “Keep their leashes and collars close to the door, so if you need to leave immediately you can take them with you.  And practice the fire escape plan so they know to come to you when the alarm goes off.”

Each week, volunteers will canvas a different neighborhood.  For more information, go to