Fire Safety Corner: Protecting Documents from Fires in the Home


Fire Safety Corner: Protecting Documents from Fires in the Home

Protecting Documents from Fires in the Home

by John Lightly, Fire Program Instructor/ YPD Battalion Chief

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), firefighters in the U.S. responded to almost 500,000 structure fires in 2017, with 72% of these being in residential structures. This means that roughly every 88 seconds, firefighters responded to a residential fire! The loss for 2017 is estimated at $23 billion.

While you may have never experienced a fire personally, it is quite likely that you know someone who has. People are often amazed at just how destructive fire can truly be. Unfortunately, citizens are often unprepared for the aftermath of a fire as they try to pick up the pieces and restore normalcy to their lives. They quickly realize that all of their important documents, files, and photos are gone forever.

Many people take the proactive step of purchasing a fireproof safe for their home in which to store these important pieces of paper. These safes come in a variety of shapes and sizes and with many different features. They also come with a wide range in price. The link that follows is a current review on 12 fireproof home safes along with their different features.

Note: Neither the author of this article nor the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center receive any compensation from any of the products listed in this review or particularly endorse or denigrate any of the products. The link is provided for informational purposes only.

Some other concerns to keep in mind when choosing a fireproof safe for your home include:

1. Temperature

While many of the safes indicate a heat resistant temperature of up to 1800?, it is also important to find out the inside temperature that the safe is rated to. Paper burns at 451?, but it may begin to yellow or scorch around 300?. Photographs, flash drives, and other products could possibly be damaged should the interior temperature of the safe get too high. The purchaser should be aware of the various limitations of the product.

2. Size

Value is determined individually. Some people will have many things to store whereas others will have very little. Determine the essentials that you personally feel must be protected and purchase the correct size for your needs.

3. Storage Location

Many people will store a home fireproof safe in an upstairs bedroom or perhaps in the basement. Keep in mind, though, that the destructive nature of a fire can cause floors to collapse, spilling the contents to the level below. Thus, a safe in a second floor can easily end up dropped into a basement; the safe in the basement may end up covered significantly with debris. Often the rubble is extremely difficult to sift through to find where the safe may have landed; it is always dangerous searching the remaining debris. Consider locating your safe in a room that is close to an exterior wall in order to make the search somewhat easier.

Fire is a force that moves quickly and can cause significant loss. Fireproof safes can help provide peace of mind when it comes to the protection of your important documents and treasured items. Taking the time to research and purchase the correct safe for your needs can be a good first step in restoring your life should a fire occur in your home.

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