“Katie Project” for Battery Replacement for Smoke Detectors Gets and Upgrade with Grant for New Smoke Detectors, Too

The Village of Arlington Heights “Katie Project” was introduced by Trustee Joe Farwell after he was inspired by a fire that killed three women in a house with non-operating smoke detectors on South Dunton Avenue on November 6, 2013. The smoke detector program is spearheaded by efforts of Village of Arlington Heights Trustee Joe Farwell, who explained at a Village Board meeting on November 18, 2013 that a relative of Farwell’s — the program’s namesake “Katie” — was killed in a fire in Palatine in the 1970s. Farwell said he wants Arlington Heights to promote a “Zero Tolerance” level for inoperative smoke detectors.” Farwell added, “Too often batteries go unchanged after their useful life and too often lives are lost because people are unwilling or unable to check their smoke detectors for proper installation and operation.”

Since its launch, “Katie Project” has resulted in the inspection of 50 homes and about 75 smoke detectors. The monthly inspections were done by volunteers who were trained by Arlington Heights firefighters.

Since November 2013, batteries were replaced with fresh batteries provided by donations from a sponsor, but if a smoke detector was found to be broken or expired, the volunteer could only recommend replacement by the homeowner.

Recently, the Arlington Heights Fire Department received a grant to cover the cost of smoke detectors, which will be distributed during the inspections, if necessary. Farwell said a sponsor will continue to provide free batteries, too.

Fire officials say batteries should be changed every year and the smoke detectors should be checked or tested every month. The entire smoke detector should be replaced every 10 years.

Any resident who wants a free checkup or wants to volunteer can call the Village of Arlington Heights at 847-368-5104 or email [email protected]


Firefighters work to extinguish a fire immediately after arrival at a house where three women died on November 6, 2013.

See also …
The Cardinal 3 Dead in Fatal House Fire on South Dunton Ave Near South St, Arlington Heights


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