LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — The Lynchburg Fire Department is taking steps to prevent future house fires. On April 12th, they kicked off their first “Walk-About Wednesdays” event, where firefighters go door-to-door sharing safety information in neighborhoods that are at higher risk for fires.

The neighborhoods they’ve identified are Diamond Hill, Miller Park, and College Hill.

Deputy Chief Jonathon Wright from the Lynchburg Fire Department says its number one priority is safety.

“We’ll be handing out brochures, we’ll be offering free smoke alarms, and just giving general fire safety tips that may help people in the community be more resilient and fire safe,” said Wright.

The idea was a collaborative effort between the fire department and Natalee Coates, a freshman at the University of Lynchburg. Coates is a part of the school’s “Bonner Leader Program” which led her to get involved with the fire department.

“The fire neighborhood walk-throughs are designed to just make people more aware of fire safety and prevention measures that they can take in their own home,” said Coates.

She says she saw a need in the community that many people had overlooked.

“They might not be aware of how they can prevent fires in the future, so that’s one aspect, and it also creates a sense of community between the citizens that the fire department serves,” said Coates.

First responders say that sense of community is just as important to them.

“We want to be engaged so that they know where they can get free smoke alarms, get fire safety tips, or even tips to help them with respect to our emergency medical services,” said Wright.

Just last week, a fire seriously damaged a vacant house on Poplar Street in Lynchburg. Wright says it sparked some concern in the community.

“We see an uptick in calls and questions and concerns when that happens because it’s visible to the community and it certainly opens everyone’s eyes,” said Wright.

Both Wright and Coates emphasize that small steps can make a huge difference when it comes to fire prevention.

The “Walk-Abouts” will be happening every Wednesday until mid-May. If you have any questions or need help accessing fire prevention materials, including smoke detectors, you can reach out to the Lynchburg Fire Department directly.