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Where there’s smoke…stay safe with a smoke detector

Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 4-10

(Madison, Wis.) (Oct. 5, 2015) — While fires can cause significant damage and even death, they are also often preventable. One of the best ways to protect your family and home is with the proper use of smoke detectors. Today’s smoke detector 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 detectors 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. 4-10. Use these tips to keep your family safe:

Make sure you have enough. The U.S. Fire Administration recommends installing at least one smoke detector in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of your home, including the basement. Test them. A smoke detector can only work if it’s functioning. Seems logical, but almost one-third of all smoke detectors 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.

Replace when necessary. If your detectors are 10 years old or older, replace them now with new ones. Consider one of the “smart” models that offer even more protection (see more below).

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 detectors, 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 detectors 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 detectors or other smart home protection devices. Contact your local insurance agent to learn more.

SOURCE: American Family Insurance

About American Family Insurance

Madison, Wis.– based American Family Insurance is the nation's third-largest mutual property/casualty insurance company and ranks 358th 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+