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Don’t wait, check the date – and stay safe with smoke alarms

2016 Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 9 – 15


Protect your family and property with the proper use of smoke alarms.

Did you know there were 1,345,500 fires in the U.S. in 2015, causing 3,250 deaths and $14.3 billion in property damage? The effects of fire are so devastating, and yet many fires are often preventable. One of the best ways to protect your family and home is with the proper use of smoke alarms. A big part of that is knowing how old the smoke alarms are in your home and replacing them on a regular basis.

And today’s smoke alarm options even include “smart” models that can alert you via a smart phone when the batteries run low, or when the alarm goes off, even when you’re not at home.

Whatever smoke alarms you have in your home, the most important thing is that you are using them and they’re working properly. Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 9-15. Use these tips to keep your family safe:

Check the date. Only a small percentage of people know smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years. Make sure you know how old all the smoke alarms are in your home. Look at the date of manufacture on the back of the alarm; the alarm should be replaced 10 years from that date.

Make sure you have enough. The U.S. Fire Administration recommends installing at least one smoke alarm in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of your home, including the basement.

Test them. A smoke alarm can only work if it’s functioning. Seems logical, but almost one-third of all smoke alarms in homes are believed to be missing batteries or otherwise not functional. Make it a habit and a priority to regularly test your smoke alarms at least once a month.

Know your local laws. Local and state laws may vary regarding the type and location of smoke alarms to install in homes, rental properties and businesses. Even if you’ve already got smoke alarms, make sure you’re following the letter of the law by looking online or contacting your local fire department for details.

Get smart (and maybe get a discount). “Smart” smoke alarms connected via Wi-Fi can conveniently alert your smartphone – if you’re home or not – when the alarm goes off or when batteries are low. Some insurers offer a discount on certain homeowners, renters and condo policies if you use smart smoke alarms or other smart home protection devices. Contact your local insurance agent to learn more.

About American Family Insurance
Madison, Wis. - based American Family Insurance is the nation's 13th-largest property/casualty insurance group and ranks 332nd on the Fortune 500 list. The company sells American Family-brand products, including auto, homeowners, life, business and farm/ranch insurance, through its exclusive agents in 19 states. American Family affiliates (The General, Homesite and AssureStart) also provide options for consumers who want to manage their insurance matters directly over the Internet or by phone. Web; Facebook; Twitter; Google+