In 2017, one home fire occurred every 88 seconds in the United States. When a house fire occurs, occupants may have as little as 2 to 3 minutes to get out of the house before it’s too late. Valuables and important documents can be lost forever in fires unless they’re specifically protected. You can protect your valuable property either by keeping them at home in a fireproof container or by keeping them offsite. Here are some ideas to help you decide what should go where.
Don’t store your birth certificates, social security cards, or passports in a cardboard box or plastic container under the bed. For documents that you need easy access to, a fireproof document safe can make more sense than an off-site security box. With a fireproof safe at home, you can access original copies of crucial documents like insurance papers and legal documents immediately, instead of only having access during the bank’s business hours. Fire safety boxes are personally owned safes designed to protect important documents from housefires. These boxes are the most convenient because they’re accessible from your home at any time that you need.
Fire safety boxes are often small and can be costly. When purchasing a box, decide in advance what papers will be going into the box. Put the papers in one location and measure the width and height of the stack. Pay close attention to the interior dimensions of the box to ensure that your papers will fit inside. check the UL rating to ensure that paper inside will not reach temperatures higher than 400 degrees Fahrenheit to protect paper inside from spontaneous combustion.
Offsite protection includes different types of storage outside of the home or business, such as in a bank or safety deposit box. This is often a more secure option than storing the documents at home. Banks are protected by professionally installed fire extinguishing systems that add a little extra protection against fire damage.
Documents that you won’t need immediate access to, like titles, stocks, bonds, registrations, licenses, and academic documentation, may be better off stored outside of the home.
Fireproof safes do a great job at protecting paper documents (and even small amounts of cash) from heat and smoke damage, however, fireproof safes use very thin metal. They are not burglar-proof and can be easily punctured, cut, or sawed with simple hand tools. Fireproof safes aren’t great for all types of items. For example, photos, CD’s, DVD’s and computer disks are very sensitive to heat and moisture. A standard fireproof safe is not engineered specifically to protect against these things. Even professional fire damage restoration teams can have a difficult, if not impossible time, trying to repair or restore these items.
Using offsite protection might prove to be more inconvenient than necessary. Offsite locations aren’t available to access on evenings and weekends, depending on bank hours. If you frequently need your important papers, a bank safety deposit box may not be the best option for you. Keep digital copies of all your important documentation – where you can get to them anytime, anywhere.
When you have a fire in your home or commercial building, the fire damage cleanup must begin as soon as possible in order to prevent permanent damage to your belongings. Our service professionals will work quickly to stop the damage from spreading and restore your home and contents back to their pre-damaged condition by using our state-of-the-art cleaning systems and equipment.
RestorePro’s trained and highly skilled team of 20 full-time restoration experts are always at the ready to be there when disasters happen. Call for help with smoke odor removal, fire restoration, soot cleanup, and any fire damage repair work necessary after a fire.
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