IRC to distribute batteries

Nine-volt batteries work in smoke, carbon monoxide detectors

The Intermunicipal Relations Committee, on behalf of Keep Blair Beautiful, has taken delivery of nearly a million volts.

The IRC plans to set up a transmission system, so it can discharge that voltage — free of charge — before Christmas.

The electric potential is contained in nearly 100,000 nine-volt batteries sent recently by Keep America Beautiful as part of that organization’s effort to distribute the results of a production overrun donated by an unnamed battery company, according to Katrina Pope, the IRC’s education and enforcement coordinator.

Pope is recruiting fire companies in the three IRC municipalities of Altoona, Logan Township and Hollidaysburg — other fire companies can also get in touch with her — so firefighters and fire police can allocate the batteries to local families for smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and similar safety devices.

Keep America Beautiful has encouraged battery recipients like Keep Blair Beautiful to seek out low-income families with kids, Pope said.

There will be questionnaires given out during distribution asking families to say how many children they have, but she doesn’t feel comfortable asking for income information, she told the IRC board this week.

Fire companies can hold open houses at their stations, showing off their vehicles and gear, while distributing the batteries — probably two or three per family on average, Pope said.

The Blair County Sheriff’s Department and area libraries have reached out to help, she said.

Firefighters could hold programs at the libraries, distributing batteries to attendees, Pope said.

Schools may also connect with the program, especially when firefighters visit to talk about fire safety, at which time they could hand out flyers to students telling parents where to go for batteries, Pope said.

The Altoona Housing Authority might have been a recipient, but it no longer uses 9-volt batteries for fire protection, Pope said.

The IRC is holding the batteries at its Buckhorn compost facility, where fire companies can sign out boxes of 210 batteries each, Pope said.

The IRC, whose main mission is to operate recycling programs for the area, will provide families receiving batteries with instructions on how to recycle them when they run down, said IRC Executive Director John Frederick.

The IRC will keep distributing the batteries until they’re gone, as they’re good until 2022, Pope said.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.