So, you’ve got a fireproof safe – now, what should you put in it?
Traditionally safes are used to store valuable items that you want to keep hidden from potential thieves. You might also store items you want to keep hidden from family and friends.
But a fireproof safe has an additional purpose.
In a fireproof safe, you can also store items that you want to keep protected from fires – and sometimes also water damage.
Did you Know?
Not all fireproof safes are waterproof? To find some examples of waterproof rated safes, check out our review of the best waterproof safes on the market today.
We’ve already written an epic post exploring some of the best fireproof safes on the market today.
But, in this article, we have outlined the important items that need to be kept safe from a fire. Some of them might be items you’ll expect to place in your regular safe. Others aren’t there to be protected from burglars – but simply to be kept safe from fire.
Items to keep in a fireproof safe
1. Birth Certificates
Who knew it was so hard to get a new ‘original’ copy of a birth certificate? Sometimes you have to send off passports, get signatures from people attesting to who you are, visit a Notary Public, and then pay a huge bill on top of that for ‘processing’.
It’s not worth misplacing a birth certificate – or letting it burn in a fire!
So, we feel it’s a good idea to keep both birth certificates in a safe and never let them out. If we need them, we can use them, then put them right back in as soon as possible.
In this world of credit cards and online payments, cash is becoming less and less common. But a store of cash can be invaluable if you’ve lost everything in your home. Especially if your wallet was burned! That credit card? It’ll have melted away in a house fire that would tend to burn at 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. And any cash outside of the safe will surely have burned, too – it’s so flimsy!
So a store of a few hundred dollars of good old fashioned cash can help us get by in the days following the nightmare of losing a house to a fire.
3. A Last Will and Testament
It can be expensive, time consuming and exhausting to get a last will and testament put together. Especially if you have a lot of assets. You need to sit down and discuss with your lawyer and partner what you want to happen to all your assets.
If your will goes up in flames, there goes all the hard work and effort.
So we’d keep a copy of our will in the fireproof safe for safekeeping.
It might also be a good idea to ask your lawyer to hold another copy of that will offsite as backup in case your will doesn’t make it through the fire. If your safe doesn’t have a high enough fireproof rating (usually measured by the Underwrites Laboratory certification and testing program), even the contents in the safe may go up in flames.
4. House and Real Estate Documents
House and real estate documentation includes:
- Mortgage documents
- Deed to the house
- Insurance documents
Evidence of ownership of your home is probably going to become a requirement pretty shortly after a home fire. When it’s time to get your home and contents insurer to pay out, they may ask for these sorts of documents. So we’d ensure they’re safely stored and secure from a fire!
These days we have passwords coming out our ears. Personally we keep all our passwords stored on an app on a cloud. So if there’s a fire, we don’t need a paper copy anywhere.
But, I did recently go through all the password files and print out a paper copy just in case. It would be a good idea to place them in the safe, too.
It cost us $300 to get our passports renewed last year. $300! That’s crazy. So, we think keeping passports in your fireproof safe is a pretty smart move.
Plus, a passport is one of the most secure pieces of documentation for identifying yourself. Once the fire has passed, you’ll probably be relying on it to prove your identity to get new drivers licences, etc. delivered, and proving your identity for insurance companies.
And hey … if worse comes to worst … you can just take a holiday after the fire to take a break from it all, right!?
Fireproof gun safes are increasingly common. They tend to be very secure and fireproof – which is awesome. So you can either get a dedicated gun safe that’s fireproof (usually required for rifles because of their shape) or a regular safe to keep your pistols.
We find Steelwater to be the premium gun safe company around in our opinion. They create some amazing safes for rifles that are incredibly secure and look really cool. If you want to see our review of the best gun safes for different types of weapons, check out this review.
8. Articles of Incorporation
Where we live, it’s a legal requirement to keep your business’s articles of incorporation on premises at all times. They need to be available to be presented upon inspection. But what happens if they burn up? You might have to get them posted to you all over again … and go through the whole process of proving your identity.
In some places it’s also a requirement that our articles of incorporation (plus minute books) be kept in a locked safe. So, why not keep them in a fireproof safe!?
Anything that’s paper based is going to go up in flames at the whiff of a fire. That means photos too. If you have any old originals of photos, it’s worth considering ensuring they’re placed in the fireproof safe to ensure they’re kept safe from any accidental fires.
But we think it’s also a good idea store an electronic copy of photos on a USB drive and keep it in the fireproof safe as well.
Any ‘family’ jewels need to go in the safe – big time! Many people keep their grandmother’s wedding ring in the safe as well as a few passed down war medals. They will come out on veteran’s day, but for the most part these are valuables that are stored securely to be passed down the generations.
In the past, we have lived in parts of the world where wildfires are a pretty common occurrence. If we have to evacuate the house, we would take what we can, and leave some of the other valuables in the fireproof safe.
This usually includes our more expensive electronics – laptops, smart watches, etc. etc.
In these instances, the bigger the safe the better. The bigger the safe, the more valuables we can save if a fire ever did come through and swallow our house.
A fireproof safe is the only thing that’s going to protect valuables if they’re caught in a structural fire. A fire resistant bag just won’t cut it. This is especially important, we think, when we have got valuables we want to keep protected from a fire – and especially if we lived in an area exposed to wildfires. In these cases, we’d want to get a nice large fireproof safe with a great UL rating that can be stored in the home to both protect belongings from theft and fire.
We hope this outline has given you some ideas of what you need to store in your safe! But remember, this article has shared our opinions and a range of examples for our circumstances only, and is based on our online research. It does not constitute advice, professional or otherwise. Your circumstances or experiences will differ from ours. Make sure you do your own research and due diligence and adhere to the rules laid out in our terms and conditions and disclaimer.