Looking to save lives, half-a-dozen members of Rehoboth Beach Volunteer Fire Company distributed free smoke detectors in the Angola Neck area Feb. 23.
Standing in Station 3, which is a joint fire station shared with Lewes Fire Dept. off Route 24, Warren Jones, fire company spokesman, said they received a state grant for an amount allowing the purchase of 72 smoke detectors. He said the one caveat was that the detectors had to be distributed in a low-income area of the fire department’s coverage area.
“Yes, there are low-income areas in the Rehoboth district,” said Jones. “I don’t care if we come back with zero.”
This was the first time the fire company had participated in the program, but Jones said there had been talk of doing it for years.
The smoke detector model chosen by the fire department was a Kidde, which, Jones said, has a 10-year lifespan and the battery can’t be removed.
To look official, the volunteers rolled out in one of the fire company’s pump trucks and vans. Almost immediately, the effort paid off. The very first home they stopped at didn’t have a single smoke detector, but four children lived there. Jones and department Treasurer Ted Doyle installed two of the life saving devices.
“If that’s the only home we help today, it was a successful day,” said Jones after the install. “People don’t think their home is going to catch on fire until it’s too late.”
Doyle added that the local fire stations have extra smoke detectors available free of charge. All someone has to do is stop by, he said. The address for the station on Route 24 is 21194 John J. Williams Highway, Lewes.
In the end, Jones said the volunteers visited 68 houses, distributed 36 smoke detectors and installed seven.
“I am so glad we did this,” Jones said in an email afterward. “Who knows how many potential lives we may have saved?”