A smoke detector could be the cheapest "life insurance" ever purchased.

"Smoke detectors are very effective in alerting families to a fire in the home," Ron Mosher, Orem fire chief, said. "As long as the machine is operational, they are nearly 100 percent accurate."Orem has 200 smoke detectors available to low-income people.

"Montgomery County (Maryland) offers detectors, Mosher said, "When used correctly, they have reduced fire deaths by more than 50 percent." One of Orem's detectors has already saved lives. Mosher said a family with four children picked up a detector, and four days later it alerted them to a night house fire. Although the family had been asleep, all members escaped the burning house.

People who would like to know if they qualify for a free smoke detector may call the Orem Department of Public Safety at 224-7109. Mosher urges those who do not qualify to consider buying a one.