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Does my Fire Safe Offer Enough Protection?

We do not have a big, fancy, heavy duty fire safe to protect our valuables if something goes wrong and our house goes up in flames. All we have is a small security chest that can be easily grabbed in case of an emergency. Though small, it holds many of our important items. Things such as our social security cards, birth certificates, vehicle titles, our will and trust, our back up FireLite hard drive (which holds thousands of family photos), and a few personal items. It really isn't big enough to hold much else, but it allows us a certain amount of protection. It should also offer peace of mind, but I often wondered how effective such a small fire safe would be in a blazing inferno; especially as I watched our wood stove burning really hot the other night.Looking a bit around the web, I found a news story done by KSL news out of Salt Lake City, Utah. They had the same basic questions that I did: how well would one of these small, inexpensive fire chests hold up in a fire? Would they live up to their fire resistant claims? They took four fire resistant chests, ranging in price from $25.00 to $70.00 and put them to the test. Ours cost around $50.00, so it was comparable to what they were testing. Some of the chests they tested even resembled the one we have. They placed inside each fire safe some basic items: paper, a photo, a CD and a video tape. Then the local fire department stacked up some pallets with hay and fire accelerant and placed the fire chests on top. A blaze was then set which heated up to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit before being extinguished. Total burn time was about 5 minutes. The safes were then drenched with a fire hose until they were cool enough to touch. So what happened?The outside of all chests were totally charred and the handles melted. The main problem was how to access their contents. But, being prepared, the firemen were armed with picks, axes and pry bars. With a little effort, they were all opened. Inside, the contents of each fire safe was still fully intact. For the most part, there were no marks of fire or water damage. Only the cheapest chest, at $24.99, had a little evidence of the beginning of charring on the edges of the paper. My conclusion? That even an inexpensive, basic fire safe will protect your important documents. The only one I would not trust is the least expensive fire chest. Considering that many fires will burn for 30 minutes, I do not like there was evidence of charring after only 5 minutes. So, don't get the cheapest fire safe chest, but considering they were all under $70.00, you do not need to spend a lot of money either.All four chests were portable, so if home you could grab them quickly. If this is a concern because of security, then you should know that one of the safes tested was small enough to carry out of your home, but, if desired, also had the capability to be bolted to the floor.A fire can strike anybody at any time, so this one small thing can make a big difference in your life. With a very small investment, you can purchase peace of mind. A basic fire safe will protect your valuables from fire. I know that I will rest better at night knowing that our small fire chest offers ample protection.

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