Kearney, NE-- In recent structure fires in Kearney the Volunteer Fire Department has noticed batteries weren't installed in the smoke detectors.

The Kearney Noon Rotary Club held its 8th annual Project Safe Holiday Saturday by replacing or installing smoke detectors and batteries.

"It's been an ongoing project every year and I think last year we replaced or put in 50 detectors and 75 batteries and we'll probably do a similar amount this year," said Rotary Club member Larry Hardesty.

Sign up sheets were put out through Kearney Public Schools, the Headstart program, and the Peterson Senior Activity Center to focus on homes of the elderly or children.

"We know that our home is going to be safe for everyone that comes in because we do a daycare here so now my family is safe plus everyone in the daycare is safe," said Jamie Shahan who received several new smoke detectors.

The homes in need of batteries were frequently those of the elderly.

"Well I couldn't install it or even replace the battery because I'm not steady enough on my feet to climb a ladder. And many cases people wouldn't get them because they couldn't afford them," said Kathryn Falconer who received three new batteries and one new alarm.

Kearney residents, young and old, recognize how important smoke alarms are, especially with the recent rise in fires where detectors didn't work.

Shahan said, "I only had two in my home and now I have seven so it can really do some good in your home as well."

"I think you can't calculate how important it is because fires kill, fires maim, fires take up property. I think it would be about the worst thing that could happen to somebody is to have a fire in the home," said Falconer.

The Rotary Club said even if people didn't sign up for the service, it reminded them that it was time to change the batteries which is usually every six months.

Hardesty said, "I think that it's a reminder, in addition to actually putting in the new batteries and new detectors, but it's just a reminder to folks the importance of it."

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