No one wants to think about it, but it happens every day. The National Fire Protection Association said that emergency crews respond to more than 350,000 house fires per year, and more than 2,500 people die each year in the U.S. due to fires.
Fire protection is crucial to your peace of mind and your family’s safety, but it’s not only the people that you need to keep safe. After you and family pets, fire victims want to save hard-to-replace items most, such as important documents, family photos and generational heirlooms.
Be prepared in case you suffer this tragedy by making sure you have a plan. Here are our fire protection tips for your valuables.
Rent a Safe Deposit Box
One of the surest methods of insulating your valuables from damage in case of a house fire is to keep your most valuable possessions offsite. It doesn’t work for every family, as people may have special needs or circumstances that require keeping original documents nearby. But if you don’t need your passport, birth certificate or last will and testament with regularity, consider one of these vaulted storage boxes. Most safe deposit boxes are stored in locked rooms at banks.
You will need to verify your identification every time you need access to the box, as will anyone else who is authorized to view the contents. Safe deposit boxes come in many sizes and price ranges. Take care to work with your bank about contingency plans, as many safe deposit boxes are sealed by state law if their owners pass away.
Safe deposit boxes have been used for generations, but there are other in-home methods of keeping your valuables from harm.
Get a Fire Safe File Box
For families who prefer to keep their important documents at home, fire protection can be synonymous with privacy. A lockable filing cabinet is perfect for documents, or even a single file box with a lock. Spend the extra money to get a fire safe file box that locks. This can provide an extra layer of security for theft, and help lower the risk of destruction in the event of a fire. Your peace of mind and the safety of your important documents are worth it!
Make sure you have considered what will go inside your lockable fire safe file box or filing cabinet. Paper will start to burn at approximately 225 degrees, but electronic records such as CDs, videotapes, and hard drives can get damaged and warped at even lower temperatures.
Fire-safe file boxes and even floor or wall safes can be expensive. They are also rarely if ever guaranteed to protect papers from yellowing, which they do at upwards of 150 degrees. Use them with caution, and make sure you buy a highly rated product that is proven to be as fire safe as possible.
Certified Fire Safes Only
If you are considering purchasing a fire safe file box or larger fire safe, it will only pay to purchase one with a high UL (Underwriters Laboratories) rating. Underwriters Laboratories is a company that creates standards for fire safety certification for consumer products in the home. Do not buy a safe without an acceptable UL rating.
Intertek is another company that provides fire safety standards. Both of these companies will certify that the protection of a safe increases the chances for the safety of documents, media or both. These ratings will also detail how much time and at what temperature various contents will be safe.
Fires in homes will burn through each room, and Consumer Reports says the typical burn time is about 20 minutes each, but we think you should be safe, not sorry. The longer your fire safe file box will keep your valuables protected, the better!
Do Fireproof Bags Really Work?
The short answer? No.
Fireproof bags may protect your electronics from heat or small flames, such as if the bag was left on a candle for a moment.
It is difficult to properly regulate actual fireproof bags. There are some on the market, but it’s hard to recommend these when there are other tried and true ways of fire protection for your documents and valuables.
Do your research, and buy these at your own risk!
Make it Weird
Some families get truly creative when it comes to fire protection! Items placed in freezers are somewhat less likely to become damaged in case of a house fire. Because many house fires start in the kitchen, freezers kept in places like a garage or basement are the safest type of cold storage in case of fires.
Another creative solution is to keep your safe located in your backyard. It might sound crazy, but it’s not likely to be dug up by a thief, and it would be much less apt to burn in case of a house fire.
Even though these ideas may seem oddball to you, they have saved the heirlooms and important documents of many people!
Commercial Fire Protection
At Blackman Mooring & BMS CAT, we have commercial services that can quickly dry your documents after fire fighting efforts, as well as other innovative techniques to recover and save your valuables after a fire.
Our state of the art facility allows us to recover important documents on paper and electronic records of all sorts. We provide inventory services while we work, so you know what you have — and what you’ve lost. We work fast to ensure your information gets recovered safely and confidentially as soon as possible.
Hospitals, data centers, governments, and other sensitive areas have all worked with us to help recover what matters. These services are provided for our commercial customers, but we work with families and devastated homes, too.
Home Fire Protection You Trust
We are proud to provide damage control and restoration services if fire protection measures in your home have failed, or perhaps weren’t there in the first place. Fire destruction can take a psychological toll on its victims, and we are here to help.
Blackman Mooring & BMS CAT has been in the business for more than 70 years, and our clients are the most important people we serve. Let us help you rebuild your life. We’re available 24/7 to help people just like you.