Anthony was working in his basement home office when he heard a crash coming from upstairs. Thinking that his kids were running amok, he chose to let his wife deal with it. For a few moments all was quiet. “Then I heard this strange sound I’ve never heard before. It was like a rushing wind.” He went to the foot of the stairs and immediately felt a blast of heat.
In what Anthony describes as the most terrifying experience of his life, he realized in a panic that a fire had broken out on the main floor of his home. “I had disabled the fire alarms a few days before when we were grilling,” he explains. “By the time I heard the fire, it was too late to save anything.” He grabbed a few business papers from the basement and ran out the side door, screaming for his wife and kids – who were safe at a neighbour’s house, unaware that their house had caught fire until they saw the commotion from down the street.
Though all the members of the Hall* family were grateful to be unharmed, and although the contents of their home were insured, one of the hardest things to replace after the fire was their important documents and papers – a key part of the tremendous loss they faced that day.
Using an in-home safe
The January 2011 Consumer Reports Money Adviser states that in-home safes can “offer several types of protection for your important possessions”. One of the most important types of protection is fire protection. While you may not own priceless jewels or rare coins, almost every householder has passports, birth certificates and treasured family photos they want to keep safe.
An in-home safe can protect its contents from:
• Fire: With a 1 in 4 chance of experiencing a house fire severe enough to call the fire department, it’s no wonder fire is the number one concern among householders. The type of fire resistance that you will require depends on what you are going to be storing. Paper requires a lot less heat protection than DVDs and computer disks; the level of heat resistance will be found on the safe packaging. In-home safes will generally prevent offer 30 minutes to 1 hour of protection, which should be sufficient as fire typically moves through an area in under half an hour.
• Water: Some safes are entirely waterproof when submerged. Consider such a safe if it will kept on or near the floor in the basement or the main floor of your home.
• Theft: Safety tested for resistance to common burglary tools and torches, most in-home safes provide protection in themselves, in the sense that burglars don’t often have time to stick around and try to pick locks. A typical in-home safe weighs 100 lbs empty, make it unattractive to thieves who tend to look for more portable items. For added safety, you can also bolt them down or even embed and conceal them in a wall.
Safe or Safety Deposit Box?
The rule of thumb generally speaking is that if you need frequent access to the contents in your safe, or wish to add items frequently, you should opt for an in-home safe rather than making the trek to the bank vault multiple times. Since costs for a fire chest, in-home safe or vault can vary widely, it’s important to consult with an experienced professional with in-depth knowledge of home security before buying, to ensure that you are making a purchase that meets your needs now and in the future. At the Pro Locksmiths showroom, you can find a great selection of in-home safes and home security products and accessories, plus knowledgeable staff who will discuss your needs and help you find the right in-home safe for you. We’ll also help with the installation if need be!
If you’re thinking of an in-home safe, call Pro Locksmiths, your in-home safe specialist in Toronto.