It takes 30 seconds for a fire to reach nearly uncontrollable levels and only 5 minutes to overtake a house completely. In this razor-thin window, homeowners can lose crucial documents, medical and financial records, emergency cash, and more.
Here, we'll review all your best options - from fireproof safes to safety deposit boxes - for keeping your cash and documents safe from flames. We'll also discuss several ways to protect flammable goods and paper documents with sophisticated designer safes.
How Can I Protect My Money and Important Documents?
Safe Deposit Boxes
Safe deposit boxes, also called safety deposit boxes, are an option for people who want to keep emergency funds, vital records, and valuables in a federally insured bank or credit union. Safety deposit boxes often store original copies of important papers, including birth certificates, marriage licenses, car titles, and deeds.
Safe deposit boxes are only as fireproof as the banks that contain them. The boxes can also retain heat and moisture, so items should be kept in water-resistant or fireproof document bags.
In the event of a fire, documents and paper money inside safety deposit boxes may ignite due to rapid temperature increases. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) protects cash in banks' vaults but not funds stored in safe deposit boxes. Only cash in a bank deposit account is protected.
Safety deposit boxes may also be inaccessible during natural disasters and power outages, which is when you might need their contents the most. For this reason, many like to have emergency cash on hand in the case of an emergency.
In short, safety deposit boxes aren't always the best option for your money and valuables.
Fireproof safes are made with insulating materials like gypsum board to create a fireproof barrier. Independent agencies like Underwriters Laboratories or Intertek assign ratings to fireproof safes. Fire ratings reveal how long a safe can protect its contents under specific temperatures, and there are varying degrees of protection.
Mycube's 55-pound, commercial-grade Firecube can protect your belongings for up to one hour in temperatures of 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit. That's commercial-grade protection without the bulkiness.
A home's sprinkler system will go off if the fire temperature exceeds roughly 155 degrees Fahrenheit, which is why fire protection safes, like the Firecube, are also water-resistant.
A high-quality safe is not merely just fire-resistant; it needs to offer protection from burglars. The Firecube features 2 tamper-proof steel bolts and a pre-drilled hole for seamless bolt-down installation.
The Firecube's pull-out drawer accommodates our Fire Safe Tray: a stackable safe tray with multiple compartment sizes for jewelry and passports. The Fire Safe Tray also includes a luxuriously soft black microsuede lining to protect delicate items. Up to 4 of these sleek trays fit into one Firecube to neatly store cash, jewelry, passports, and more in an easily accessible fashion.
What Are Some Tips for Storing Items?
Whether you use a home safe or a bank safety deposit box, here are some tips for storing your documents and valuables.
- Make copies. You should photocopy or scan significant documents and store them in other trustworthy areas. Back them up on a flash drive.
- Stay organized. Keep vital records organized by putting them in a high-quality folio case. You may think you know where everything is, but you won't want to waste valuable seconds searching during a crisis.
- Consult a checklist. Use an emergency planning checklist from a trusted source like the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to ensure that you've gathered everything you might need in a disaster.
- Consider insurance. Insurance policies can give you peace of mind that the items inside are protected financially in the event of unauthorized access. Compare plans to get the best rate to protect your items during a disaster or theft.
- **Install a home security system. **A home security system can lower your insurance premium by around 2 or 3 percent. When you safeguard your assets, your homeowner's policy may reflect that.
Where Shouldn't I Store Money and Documents?
Whether you're concerned about a house fire or theft, there are several places where you should not store your money.
Drawers are also a bad choice for protection from fire, as clothing is inherently flammable. Untreated natural fibers like cotton, linen, and silk ignite easily, and synthetic fabrics melt. It's better to store sentimental or valuable items in fire-resistant safes and away from highly-flammable materials.
Storing goods in drawers isn't just unwise for fire safety; it's also an issue for general home protection. A majority of burglars check bedroom drawers first. Unless your drawers come with locks, they are some of the most accessible (and most obvious) places to hide valuables.
A small in-drawer safe like our Biocube In-Drawer Safe makes drawers trust-worthy storage spaces. This slim, discreet safe uses our proprietary biometric fingerprint technology to keep your documents safe until you unlock them with a single touch. The Biocube In-Drawer Safe has ⅛ inch-thick walls, tamper-proof door bolts, and pre-drilled bolt-down holes for easy installation and unparalleled protection.
Cabinets and Closets
Unlocked cabinets and closets are another obvious hiding place, and they're no more fireproof than a chest of drawers. Hiding your prized possessions in these spots is basically like giving them away.
Fortunately, there's a better option: the Mycube recessed Wall Safe. This safe fits between 2 wall studs for sleek, unobtrusive security. It is available in our high-gloss white designer finish and equipped with internal lighting and pre-drilled bolt holes. These features make the Wall Safe ideal for securing documents and paper currency.
Walls and bookshelves are other spots that burglars may check during a robbery. Hiding cash in a book or under a decorative item might seem reasonable but are incredibly easy to access.
Books are also highly flammable, making your shelving less safe in case of a fire as well. Instead of leaving your documents and money in vulnerable locations, consider the Firecube for more secure storage.
At-Home Safes and Fire Protection
At-home safes are your best bet for fireproofing and hiding your money and documents in your place of residence. Unlike the bulky, old-fashioned safes from the movies, Mycube's modern safes come in a variety of elegant shapes, sizes, and styles.
Mycube also offers security options that will suit anyone's preferences. With advanced locking technology, including proprietary biometric tools and keypad technology, personal documents will be safer than ever. Auto-locking doors prevent mishaps, and key registration makes it simple to replace your key if you lose it.
Mycube combines at-home safes with commercial-grade engineering to protect your most valuable possessions from the threat of home fires.
Keep Your Documents Safe and Accessible | FEMA
Flammable Fabrics | City of Phoenix
Safeguard Critical Documents and Valuables | Ready.gov
Five Things To Know About Safe Deposit Boxes, Home Safes, and Your Valuables | FDIC
Myths and Facts about Sprinkler Systems - Fire Safety | Tufts Department of Public Safety
Hidden in plain sight: Thieves reveal where they look first | NBC 12
5 Home Improvements That Can Save You Money on Homeowners Insurance | Consumer Reports