Fireproof

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap  —  February 11, 2013 — 9 Comments

After the whole debacle last week when I thought my house was on fire, I was feeling pretty good about my ability to handle an emergency. Except for one thing. I seriously was about to go back into a house that I thought was burning to grab our homeowners’ insurance. Not exactly behavior befitting someone who is responsible for the life of a child. My grandparents and my aunt have both had house fires that destroyed almost everything they owned, but for some reason it has never occurred to me until now to get a fireproof safe. Fortunately, that mistake was pretty easily remedied–I picked this one up for $40 at Lowe’s.

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They had a few that were $20-$30, but this one was a little bit bigger and also waterproof (since floods are not outside the realm of possibility in this part of the country that seemed like a useful feature). When I got it home, it was as easy as going through our files and pulling out anything that would be either difficult to replace or critical in the immediate aftermath of a disaster–birth certificates, homeowners and life insurance, retirement paperwork (I’ve got money left behind at a few different jobs and would hate to lose those records), etc. I also quickly walked around the house with our video camera shooting footage of all our valuables and then burned it to a CD, which went right into the safe along with all our papers (I realize it needs a case. A scratched up CD might not do us much good after the fact).

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I was tempted to tuck it away in a closet, but then I realized it’s probably wise to make it as easy as possible to add more important stuff to it as needed instead of putting it somewhere out of the way and then finding myself procrastinating about getting it out and opening it up to put stuff in. Since a pile of papers I’ve been meaning to put in the safe aren’t nearly as protected as papers I’ve actually put in the safe, if you know what I mean. And there’s nothing in there that wasn’t sitting completely unprotected in our file cart a few days ago, so it didn’t make sense to go to a lot of effort to hide it from criminals. It’s not like I have jewelry or valuables in there, just personal info (though I realize identity theft is a concern). Anyway, I decided to just tuck it in behind the rolling cart that has been housing all of our files for the past few years. That way if I need to add updated insurance info or a new video or whatever it’s right there.

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So now we can rest easy at night knowing that if an emergency were to occur we could focus on evacuating all the living creatures in the moment and save our worry about administrative affairs for after the smoke clears (or water recedes). We’ve already got a fire extinguisher on each floor and smoke detectors in each room (two of which are wired to the house alarm), so even though we are not the most fastidious people in the world I feel like we’re actually pretty set on the emergency preparedness front. It’s not that fun to think about this stuff but I love the feeling of peace that comes with knowing you’re prepared. Any other tips from y’all?

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap

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9 responses to Fireproof

  1. Just keep in mind those things are soooo very not thief proof. An older-elementary school kid can pick the lock with a paper clip if they’re determined. I have to remind folks of that all the time around here, ’cause I’m in Texas and folks will sometimes use them as their bargain gun safe.

    • Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap February 14, 2013 at 7:19 am

      Good thing I don’t have anything valuable (or dangerous) in there! The manual specifically mentioned that it was not be used as a gun safe and I wondered why. Now I know!

  2. Good for you! I really need to do this too – can you believe I’ve never thought to bother? But you know, I have a niggling feeling in the back of my mind that maybe these safes are not actually effective? maybe something I read in Consumer Reports? I should check that out.

    • Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap February 14, 2013 at 7:18 am

      I can’t believe you don’t have one! I feel a little better about waiting so long now. I’ll have to google a bit regarding their effectiveness, though maybe as EiceBlue mentioned maybe it was the security aspect that’s questionable.

  3. You’re motivating me to get mine started. This was one of my first purchases when I got a home, but it has sat there empty for four months with the papers stacked outside of it. That’s sad, no excuse! Preparation is key.
    Thanks for the reminder!

    • Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap February 14, 2013 at 7:20 am

      Hahaha, that is totally something I would do. Keep the papers stacked right outside the fireproof safe instead of actually putting them IN the safe.

  4. Never considered this. Thanks for sharing, it is now on my to do list!

  5. How about a safe deposit box at the bank. Of course, I still have the small pile of papers at home, waiting to make it to the bank, but for the most part, once things get there they stay put!

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