It’s not pleasant to think about, but are you prepared if disaster hits your house?
Fire. Flood. Hurricane. Earthquake. Theft.
In an instant, the place you live and everything inside it is gone.
Stuff can be replaced. This is why people have insurance.
What about the stuff that can’t be replaced? The irreplaceable things that people mourn are losing photos, heirlooms and items of sentimental value.
I don’t know if it’s because of The Creepy Food Thief, but I’ve had an increased level of anxiety over losing my possessions.
The things I’m mostly worried about are unlikely to be of any interest to a thief. Like my grand piano.
Most thieves are looking for things easy to take like cash, jewellery, and small electronic devices. If they have more time and a truck, maybe they’re stealing big screen TVs.
The things I want to protect are the external drive I use to back up my computer, a list of passwords, identification, and financial statements. You know – things that are gone forever or will be a pain in the ass to try to replace.
How about the hassle of trying to convince a stubborn bank employee I am who I say I am?
A safe inside your house can protect your valuables from burglars. Many safes are fireproof, so that provides an extra layer of protection and peace of mind.
However, not everyone is able to keep a safe in their house or apartment.
(Disclosure: I’m an Amazon affiliate. If you click a link in this post and make a purchase from Amazon, I’ll receive a small commission for the referral,)
The safe below is a top seller on Amazon. One of the reviewers said this safe survived the Paradise, California fire with the documents inside intact. She posted a photo of the safe sitting in the ashes – so we know it works!
However, this safe weighs 86 pounds. Kind of a tough haul for an older woman to lug around the house.
You have to drill holes to anchor it to the floor or a wall. If you live in a rental, your landlord might not be too keen on you doing that.
If a thief comes along, and they have a strong back, they can probably steal the safe.
A smaller safe like this one that weighs 24 pounds might be easier to keep in the house.
It’s also easier for a thief to walk off with this safe, so it should definitely be anchored into a wall or floor.
Fireproof document bag
As much as I think a fireproof safe is a good idea, for me it’s just not practical. Too heavy, and can’t anchor it where I live.
I started researching fireproof document bags.
Most of them claim to be fireproof and waterproof, and have pretty good reviews on Amazon. Though, most customers have never put their bag to the ultimate test!
Yeah sure, I’ll buy a fireproof bag and throw it on the bonfire and see what happens!
All the manufacturers of these bags claim they’ve tested them in fires up to various temperatures. Who’s ever calculated the temperature of a fire? Us consumers just have to trust these manufacturers who say they put their products through extensive testing.
If a fire is burning hot and long enough, the heat can still melt, burn, and destroy the items inside a fireproof container.
Basically, we have to put blind faith into the manufacturer’s claims and hope we never have a fire.
I decided to buy a fireproof document bag to keep items that I can’t replace or are difficult to replace. Being a grab and go bag that’s easy for me to carry is important. I purchased a large Engpow fireproof document bag that I felt was good value for my peace of mind.
It withstood significantly higher heat ratings than its competitors and is more waterproof than similar products.
Engpow fireproof document bag
I took a few photos of the Engpow fireproof document bag so you can see the approximate size. It’s 16″ x 12″ and 4″ wide. It’s made with double-layer aluminum foil fiberglass silicone and is a soft case document bag.
I like that it has an over the shoulder strap and a handle to carry it.
There’s a zipper to enclose the bag’s documents and a fold over top that fastens with Velcro.
One wall inside the fireproof document bag has slots to help keep smaller items and cards organized.
What should you keep inside a fireproof bag or safe?
The items you keep inside your fireproof document bag or a fireproof safe is limited by its size.
Some of your most prized possessions will be too big to fit inside.
You also have to decide what documents or jewelry are better off inside a safety deposit box at the bank.
By the way, I recommend you never keep your passport in the bank’s safety deposit box in case you need it and the bank is closed. You want to keep it at the house so you can leave on short notice if necessary. Thieves are more interested in stealing your cash and valuables, and not your documents like passports.
Here are some things you can keep inside a fireproof document bag or safe:
- insurance papers
- external hard drive or memory sticks
- safety deposit box key
- birth certificate
- deed to the house
- social insurance number or social security card
- extra credit cards
- financial statements
- list of passwords
- ID that you don’t need to keep with you
- emergency contact information
- medical documents and prescriptions
- spare keys
External hard drive
Seeing as how we’re talking about peace of mind, I hope you’ve got an external hard drive to back up your computer. You probably have a lot of photos stored on there and documents that will be a huge tragedy to lose if your computer crashes.
I use a Verbatim external hard drive similar to this one. And it’s tucked safely inside my fireproof document bag except when I need to use it for backing up my computer.
It weighs a few ounces and fits quite nicely inside my Engpow document bag.
This one seems to be Amazon’s choice:
This Toshiba external hard drive is also an Amazon choice, and is a better price point:
Whatever you decide, make sure you use some kind of external back up for your computer. Whether your computer crashes, gets hacked and you get a ransomware demand, or it’s stolen, you will probably be more upset about what’s inside your computer that you can’t replace than the actual loss of the device.
Peace of mind.
Do you have a fireproof document bag or fireproof safe? What do you recommend keeping inside it?