How To Protect Important Documents from a Fire
Worrying Fire Statistics
One of the biggest fears of householders is what they would do if for some reason, there was a fire at their house. Not only would they lose their home but also there is a chance that they could lose everything that they own. With the recent events in London and other cities in Britain, for some people this has become a harsh reality.
The figures regarding house fires around the world are startling, and fire prevention agencies are constantly trying to get across the message to householders about what they can do to help prevent a house fire, but still looking at the numbers we need to take further action to bring these down.
Each year in the US, according to FEMA, 4000 people are killed and 25,000 are injured in fires. In addition to that, the cost of property loss from fires is estimated at $8.6bn.
In the UK the figures are similar (taking into account the population), with around 50,000 house fires occurring each year.
Fire Prevention and Warning
This article is not going to go in to the details of fire prevention as that is a whole subject in itself. Needless to say though that we should all have smoke detectors installed and should check that they are working on a regular basis.
It may also be useful to have a small fire extinguisher or fire blanket in the kitchen – these are not expensive items and can save the fire from spreading in certain situations.
For a good UK Fire Extinguisher, check this one out, for US see below.
Small Fire Extinguishers at a Small Cost
What Are Your Most Prized Possessions?
So let’s think about what the most important things are that you would want to save in a fire. I did think about this recently when the London riots were taking place and came to a few conclusions, and these may or may not be the same for you:
- Photos (digital and printed)
- Computer data
So, taking each one in order, we need to think of ways to preserve these things if there was a fire.
For printed photos there are a few options: scan in all of the photos so that you are only left with having to preserve digital photos. This may not be feasible if you have a large quantity of photos to scan though, although you could take them to a photo shop for them to scan. So maybe the other option is to scan the most important ones and any that are left can be covered by the documents section below.
The main thing, I thought to myself, was that everything would be covered by insurance. However, I did think that, although I know the broker through whom I took out my home insurance policy, it would probably make life easier for me if I actually had the policy details. Not only that, but what about all the other policies and accounts that I have – how would I possibly remember who they were all with and what they covered? Well I decided that the best option for these would be a fireproof box or safe. You don’t necessarily need a safe unless you have other things (perhaps sentimental jewellery) that you wanted to keep safe and secure, otherwise a fireproof document box or bag would be fine. There are plenty of options available in this regard, from fireproof bags that cost under $10 to large fireproof cabinets, so it does not cost much to protect these things.
For a great option for a UK fireproof document box, check this one out, US options are below.
Fireproof Document Containers
This is a really simple and cheap option for saving your most important documents if a fire were to occur. For less than $10 you can save your documents in a fireproof bag
I have a lot of data on my computer which I back up on a regular basis, but, probably like most people, my backup drive is sat next to my computer and so would be useless if I had a fire. One new strand of modern technology could come in useful for this kind of problem, which is the cloud drive. A cloud drive is an online storage area for files where you can upload all of your files so that they are backed up and safe, separate from your computer or backup drive. There are a number of companies that offer cloud drive solutions including Amazon, who offer 5Gb for free as a basic package.
You could also back up your files onto DVD and keep them in a fireproof box (see above) but you would need to do this on a regular basis.