By Chad Frey Newton Kansan

According to FEMA, a properly installed and maintained smoke alarm is the only thing in your home that can alert you and your family to a fire 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And not every home has one — though a small group of volunteers is working to get rid of the barriers to get alarms installed.

A limited number of free smoke detectors will be available starting Feb. 10, and there will be volunteers available to install the devices.

"Using volunteers, there is no cost to someone," said Mary Spires, volunteer coordinator for Harvey County. "They do need to have someone come and install them."

Installations are, she said, primarily for those 65 and older. Volunteers installa limited number  free smoke detectors on for those over 65 who either have no smoke detectors or whose smoke detectors are more than 10 years old.

"We want to help the elderly who can't get on a ladder to install a smoke detector," Spires said. Volunteers will attend a training at 11 a.m. Feb. 8. That training will cover where in the home a detector should be located if there are no other smoke detectors in the home.

Currently there are six volunteers — mainly from the Harvey County Senior Patrol, a group of volunteers with the Harvey County Sheriff's office. Partnering with the Senior Patrol ensures volunteers have been through a background check before going into someone's home. Spires is one volunteer, as is Harvey County Undersheriff Todd Hanchett.

"We are looking for more people to help with this," Spires said. "The detectors are available to everyone in Harvey County. We do need volunteers to cover the outlying areas of the county."

The smoke detectors are made available through the Area Agency on Aging.

For more information, or to volunteer, call the Harvey County RSVP program at 284-6881.