What To Look For In A Home Safe

Apr 26, 2023

The weather is no joke these days, and the impact is taking a front row seat in lifestyle planning – at least in our household.

Recent forest fires, severe storms, flooding, last spring’s derecho, summertime tornados and lengthy power outages have impacted our lives here in the Laurentians and similarly, those of other Canadians across the country. Not to mention climate changes happening throughout the rest of the world.

We felt, after last year’s weather-related calamities, that it was time to look at ways in which to protect our valuables (although nothing is worth running back into a fire or raging flood waters when it comes to endangering our lives). Some of our friends living in various parts of BC have had to do exactly that. Grab and go.

Given that possible prospect, it would be a good idea to:

  1. know where the important stuff is and
  2. be able to grab it all and go if we had to vacate at a moment’s notice.

What Exactly Would Those Things Be?

The list is long and will invariably differ for every individual and household.

Put it this way: anything from legal papers such as wills, powers of attorney, bank cards and cheques, safety deposit box keys, passports, birth certificates, marriage or divorce certificates, proof of identity, ready cash, stock certificates, insurance policies, jewellery and photographs – never mind the computers, phones and chargers, and our prescription medications – plus any other items deemed ‘priceless’ or ‘irreplaceable’ or ‘necessities of daily life’. How about just our wallets?

We could go on and on.

Portable Home Safes

So, about a month ago, we went out and bought a “portable” fireproof safe with a carry handle from Canadian Tire based on information on the box’s packaging. That italicised phrase is important. The dimensions seemed to be what we were looking for and it was apparently fireproof and waterproof. It weighed a ton, but we figured that it felt heavier because it was still in the box and needed two hands to carry it.

Once home, we unpackaged it and realised that even holding it by the handle it was still far too heavy to just grab and go. Add to that, the dimensions shown on the packaging were not the inside dimensions of the safe. The box could not hold letter sized documents unless they were to be folded up into quarters, and you’d possibly get about 3 inches deep of space for them leaving no room for passports, wills, any jewellery items, or a wad of cash.

It also explained in the paperwork/instructions that items like pearls or watches couldn’t be stored in it as they’d not survive the heat of a fire. The last straw was the instructions stated that you’d need a professional to pry the box open if indeed it did withstand a fire. We decided not to test it for waterproofness and repackaged the whole thing up – back to Canadian Tire we went for a refund.

We’re still looking for something else, having decided we want a safe we can install rather than carry since portable models are just too darn heavy and too small.

In Search Of A Safe Spot

More and more of us are now entertaining the idea of storing our valuables and papers in a safe and secure, but accessible way. It has become the norm and not the exception. Should you be too?

Sadly, it’s almost impossible to rent a safety deposit box at a bank these days. We’ve been on the waiting list for years at our financial institution – a relatively small branch – and unless someone who has one moves away or passes away, it’s unlikely we’ll get one any time soon. So, our search for a home safe continues.

What we’d ideally like to find and have installed is a safe like those that we get in a hotel room when we travel. They’re usually designed to accommodate a laptop computer and still have room for a stack of documents and other bulky items.

To help you in your search for the right model for your home we want to share some links to products we’re investigating.

There are several brands available in all sorts of sizes and configurations which are suitable for residential use.

Among many other features, these are just a few things to think about when you start to look for an appropriate safe for your household needs. Keep in mind that it’s important to consider a safe with inside dimensions that are the right size for the items you wish to store in it. Consider the following:

  • What will you be storing in it?
  • Check the fire rating if you need a fire-safe box.
  • Is it watertight/proof?
  • What’s its burglar rating?
  • Consider the weight if you want a safe that’s portable.
  • Do you want a digital or key operated model, or one with a combination lock, etc.
  • Does it come with pre-drilled holes for ease of installation and anchoring?
  • What sort of door construction does it have?
  • Where will you install it?

For more explicit information about what to look for in a safe, we also recommend you visit Safe&Vault. Our search continues – wish us luck!



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