Members of the Ellendale Fire Co. are doing their part to make sure residents have working smoke detectors. On Friday, Feb. 15, members will canvass the community beginning at 6 p.m., going door-to-door in an effort to prevent house fires, said Aaron Moore, assistant fire chief for Ellendale Fire Co.
“With three fatal fires in Sussex County since December - Bridgeville, Milton and Millsboro - the Ellendale Fire Co. will be stepping up our efforts to ensure local families have access to working smoke detectors,” he said.
Crews will go to homes to check that residents have functioning smoke detectors installed, Moore said. Those who do not will be given free smoke detectors. If an individual is unable to install the smoke detectors, Moore said, crews will assist with installation.
“The hope of the Ellendale Fire Co. is to be able to provide early warning to the residents of our community so that they can escape safely if faced with a fire in the home,” he said. “Not only will this early warning benefit the residents, but the earlier they can alert us, the easier it is to stop the spread of the fire and minimize property damage.”
A fire can double in size every 30 seconds, he said, making early reporting key. Over the next few weeks, Ellendale crews will visit communities in Lincoln, Cedar Creek, Philadelphia, Greentop and Redden.
In 2018, Moore said, 11 people died in house fires, and eight of those were in homes without working smoke detectors.
Nationally, the National Fire Protection Association reports that three out of five home fire deaths result from fires in properties without working smoke alarms, and half of home fire deaths happen between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when residents are most likely to be sleeping, Moore said.
That was the case recently when Ellendale firefighters responded to a house fire at 7:59 a.m., he said.
“The fire sent three residents to the hospital,” Moore said. “Working smoke detectors were not present.”