The Ellendale Fire Co. is stepping up its efforts to ensure local families have access to working smoke detectors after three fatal fires in Sussex County since December in Bridgeville, Milton and Millsboro.

Eleven people died to fire in Delaware in 2018, eight of which were in homes without working smoke detectors. These statistics are similar to those seen nationally; the National Fire Protection Association reports that three of five home fire deaths result from fires in properties without working smoke alarms. Further, 50 percent of home fire deaths happen between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., when residents are most likely to be sleeping. In fact, the Ellendale Fire Co. responded to a fire at 7:59 a.m. Feb. 10 that sent three residents to the hospital. Working smoke detectors were not present.

To that end, the Ellendale Fire Co. will fan out across Ellendale on Feb. 15 to check door-to-door that residents have smoke detectors, that they are properly installed and that they are functioning correctly.

Beginning at 6 p.m., crews will meet for dinner and be given geographic assignments. These crews will then split up and knock on every door in their assigned areas, checking that the residents have functioning smoke detectors installed and providing free smoke detectors to anyone that does not. If an individual is unable to install the smoke detectors, crews will assist with installation.

The hope of the Ellendale Fire Co. is to be able to provide early warning to the residents For more, call 236-7207 or 422-7500.