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October 28, 2007

American Strategic Insurance Company Launches "Change a Battery, Save a Life" Awareness Campaign

St. Petersburg, FL - American Strategic Insurance Company (ASI) launched a reminder to Floridians to change the batteries in their fire alarms using the easy calendar reminder of daylight savings time and the motto "Change a Battery, Save a Life."

"There is nothing more important to the safety of our citizens than fire prevention steps as simple as changing your batteries in fire alarms and smoke detectors," said John Auer, ASI's President.

More than 400,000 batteries will be mailed to ASI policyholders to promote fire safety awareness by making sure residential policyholders maintain smoke detectors in good working order. Mr. Auer will emphasize this message with the city and state officials on November 9, 2007 at a gathering to be held at the Pinellas Association of Retarded Children (PARC) Center Industries, Suncoast 1, 7181 30th Avenue North, St. Petersburg, FL 33710.

"ASI can replace your home, but we can't replace you or your loved ones. We demonstrate our commitment to protecting you by sending this reminder of the importance of prevention. This is one of many measures citizens can take to avoid tragedies," Auer said.

According to the Florida Fire Marshall's Office in Tallahassee, led by Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, more than 24,700 structures statewide suffered fire damage of some level. Less than 40 percent of those structures had smoke detectors, and about half of those were in working order.

"It's an undisputed fact that smoke detectors and fire alarms save lives, so we all need to take this simple step in avoiding the avoidable and try to change those statistics for the better," Auer said.

ASI partners with the PARC to help in the enormous effort required for this mailing. Over 150 PARC clients have worked with ASI regularly and support ASI's efforts to help their policyholders stay safe. PARC is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide opportunities for individuals with disabilities to exercise their independence, enjoy an enhanced quality of life and experience life to the fullest.

According to state statistics, the leading causes of home fires in Florida last year were, in order: cooking accidents; arson; appliances and heaters; open flames from items such as candles; and smoking. While most fires occur in the kitchen, the highest number of fires involving fatalities occurred in the bedroom. Fires in the state last year caused more that $380 million in damage to Florida homes and property.