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October 2012
Five Hot Fire Safety Tips
fireplace

Five Hot Fire Safety Tips

Follow these suggestions to make your home a no-burn zone.

Pop quiz — no pressure.

Q: October 7-13 is National Fire Prevention Week in the U.S. What's the best way you can commemorate fire prevention all year round?

A: Follow these five quick and easy fire safety tips. They'll help protect you, your family and your dreams.

1. Get a smoke detector and keep it working

Install at least one smoke detector on every level of your home, and test it once a month according to the manufacturer's instructions.

2. Be careful in the kitchen

When using burners, roll up loose-fitting sleeves and turn cookware handles inward. Don't leave burners unattended, and never leave the room when using a fryer. Use an extinguisher, not water, to put out grease fires. If a fire starts in a pot or pan, turn off the heat and carefully put a lid over the top.

3. Chill out heating hazards

If you have a wood stove, make sure it meets today's safety standards and is properly installed on a non-combustible base that can withstand intense heat. Keep heating devices (including a stovepipe) at least 36 inches from walls and furniture. Have chimneys on wood stoves and fireplaces cleaned and inspected yearly. Remove ashes using a metal container, not cardboard boxes or plastic pails.

4. Plug into appliance safety

Keep cords far from hot surfaces and areas with open water or faucets, and unplug warm appliances like toasters and irons when done. Don't overload extension cords or plug too many items into the same electrical circuit, especially if your home's wiring is old.

5. Don’t let smoking keep the home fires burning

Don't smoke in bed, as it causes many home fire deaths. Designate couches or easy chairs as "no smoking areas," as these comfortable spots can lull people to sleep while they're smoking.

Additional Resources

Don't get burned! Check out these additional fire safety resources from American Family.

Holiday Fire Prevention - Keep your home safe and holidays happy with these preventive steps.

Kitchen Fire Safety - Make fire prevention a key ingredient of your holiday recipes.

Wildfire Safety - Keep blazes away from your precious property.

Fireplace Safety - Keep the fire in your fireplace with these protective steps.

Learn more about protecting your property from fire and other perils.

Get more Mileage Out of Your Older Car
car inspection

Get More Mileage Out of Your Older Car

These days, more Americans are driving older cars. You might be one of them.

Case in point: between the first quarters of 2009 and 2012, the number of older vehicles on the road in the United States increased by more than 17 million, according to Experian Automotive. Experian also found that the average age of vehicles has increased to 11 years, up 1.9 percent compared to the first quarter of 2011.*

If your car is over the hill, proper maintenance is key to enhanced longevity, given that older cars typically endure a lot of wear and tear through the years. Here are some basic car-care tips that can help keep your older car (and your newer one, too) on the road longer.

Keep tires from getting 'tired'

Check the air and lower the despair! Properly inflated tires can help reduce accident risks, and can contribute to better gas mileage. Make sure they have sufficient tread depth and are in good working condition, too. Check out our tire care tips for more information.

Stick to the schedule

Regularly scheduled maintenance is a smart move. Have your mechanic check fluid levels, and inspect hoses, belts and other parts.

Listen up

Turn down that car stereo system and listen to the sounds your car makes when starting, driving and stopping it. This could help you hear telltale signs of stress on tires, brakes belts and other car parts.

We’ve got you covered

No matter how old your car is, American Family auto insurance can give you the coverage you need to stay on the road to your dreams.

If the unfortunate occurs and you're in a car accident, consider American Family's Certified Repair Program. It’ll allow you to select a pre-qualified auto repair facility for easier, quicker repairs that are backed by a lifetime guarantee.

*Source: "Number of Older Vehicles on the Road in the United States Increased by More Than 17 Million Since 2009, According to Experian Automotive's Q1 2012 Vehicles in Operation Analysis” (press release), June 27, 2012.

10 Ways to Cut Your Heating Bills
reduce lost heat

10 Ways to Cut Your Heating Bills

Save money with these handy tips.

Whether you live in a cold, moderate or even a relatively warm climate, Old Man Winter could lead to higher heating bills if you don't prepare your home in advance.These tips can help you get ready, so you can focus on the fun aspects of the season.

1. Replace or install weather stripping on doors and windows, and caulk the latter if needed, in order to reduce cold drafts.

2. Close storm windows to keep heat in and the cold out.

3. Have your ductwork cleaned and sealed properly so warm furnace air flows more efficiently.

4. Install UL-listed electrical outlet gaskets made from fire-retardant foam to reduce air leakage.

5. Replace your furnace filters — it'll help your furnace run more efficiently.

6. Install a programmable thermostat to reduce heating costs in the winter (and lower cooling costs in the summer, too).

7. Run your ceiling fans clockwise at a low speed — they’ll help make the room warmer.

8. Install insulating window plastic over windows so your home retains more heat.

9. When your fireplace is not in use, keep the damper closed.

10. Keep closet doors closed to avoid heating unused space.

Follow our other home winterization tips, too. They'll help you avoid headaches and protect your home during cold weather.

We'd 'Like' Your Help to Fight Hunger
Like our corporate Facebook page.

We'd 'Like' Your Help to Fight Hunger

Make a difference by 'liking' American Family's Facebook page today.

From now through Oct. 31, American Family will give the National FFA Organization a dollar for every new "like" we receive on our company's Facebook page — up to $20,000.

This money will fund as many as 50,000 meals being assembled at the FFA's Rally to Fight Hunger, part of the organization's national convention in Indianapolis, Oct. 24-27.

Monitor American Family's fundraising progress on Facebook, where we'll also share interesting facts on just how serious a problem hunger is here at home and around the world.

Make a difference by "liking" American Family today. And encourage all your Facebook friends to do the same!

Take the Long Live Dreams Challenge
Take the Long Live Dreams Challenge

Take the Long Love Dreams Challenge

Your online ballot is all it takes to help a worthy organization pursue its cause of helping others.

Vote today in the American Family Insurance Long Live Dreams Challenge, where 12 outstanding organizations with unique passions for community service are competing for $5,000.

Through Nov. 15, you can cast one online ballot per organization every 24 hours.

And just for voting, you'll be eligible to win a $500 gift card. That's seed money to help pursue your own dream!

Cast Your Vote!

Draw. Dream. Win.
Draw Your Dreams Contest

Draw. Dream. Win.

Your young artist could win a $100 gift card.

Help a child in your life dream big, get creative and possibly win a $100 gift card with our "Draw Your Dreams Contest."

It's simple. Children aged 13 and under draw pictures of their dreams, and we'll post them online.

If they are one of four weekly winners between Oct. 11 and Nov. 1, they'll receive a $100 gift card.

Get the details.