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  • Fire proof safes?

    Since I've been holding onto a few clients' photos waiting for my new scanner to arrive, I've begun to really worry about the fires here in CO. There aren't any burning near me at the moment, but sitting outside last night, I had ash falling on my from a fire 150 miles away. And today there's a smoke advisory along the front range and the wind is blowing really hard - definitely not good for the firefighters!!

    Anyway, I've pretty much decided that a fire safe would be a really good idea for me to store my clients' photos in as long as I have them. Having only had a small safe for passports and birth certificates (personal stuff), I'm not sure what to look for or how big of one to get.

    I know that both TG & Jim Conway have fire safes (mentioned in their posts a few times), but I haven't seen any other mentions. So, I'm wondering how many people have fire safes for their clients' originals and how big of one do you have? And what heat rating? (Brand names would be helpful as well.)

    Thanks, Jeanie
    16
    Yes, a large one with a high heat rating
    12.50%
    2
    Yes, but only a small personal one
    31.25%
    5
    No, I hadn't even thought about it
    37.50%
    6
    Other
    18.75%
    3

  • #2
    Here's a good place to start......http://www.sentrysafe.com/products.cfm?

    Good luck, Tom

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    • #3
      Since all of my clients are of the "non-paying" variety (friends, relatives, parents of kids my kids go to school with... All of my PS tinkering is done as a hobby, not a business), I'm fireproof safeless at the moment. Do have a safe deposit box at the local bank, however, for personal documents.

      You raise an excellent question... It will be interesting to see the results.

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      • #4
        I have a small/medium fire proof safe in which I keep all client photos and back up cds of all my work. I'm not in a fire prone area but I feel it gives both the client and I peace of mind knowing their photos are protected. I'm not sure what the fire proof rating is as I bought it before I started restoring photos and the rating wasn't somthing I took note of.

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        • #5
          I got a small safe only because it was in great condition and working well when we saw it at a garage sale. I think we paid $25 for it. I knew those things ran $150 and up depending on the rating and size. Mine is supposed to be safe for 1500 degrees. I'll believe it when I see it. Hopefully that will be never. It was a pretty good buy otherwise I wouldn't bother getting one at that price. I'd like to see how they hold up in a fire first.
          DJ

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          • #6
            Hmmm - so it doesn't seem as though many people have fire safes. Perhaps I'm just paranoid, but I'm really nervous about leaving for a camping trip (or any trip) given the fire season we're having and not having my clients' photos protected in some way. I just remember two years ago - when a wildfire was within five miles of us - I had gone into town to run errands and almost wasn't allowed (by police road blocks) back to our house because the winds had changed direction and the fire was moving 3 mph. Since there's only one road into (and out of) our development it wouldn't be inconceivable to be away from home (especially if it was a few hours drive away) and then not able to get back because of fire. Am I just being paranoid?

            Tom, thanks for that link. I've seen that page before I think, but wonder what a "typical" fire burns at. Is it worth it to spend extra $$ on a business safe which gives protection for two hours of 1700 degree heat as opposed to one hour of 1700 degree heat for the "home" version? And something I can't figure out (and may have to contact Sentry directly), would the business safe handle media as well? They have a special media safe, but I'd really rather not have to buy two - one is expensive enough! (I don't think I'm going to be as lucky as DJ and find one at a garage sale. )

            Jeanie

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            • #7
              Speaking from experience with structure fires, especially residental types, the 1 hour 1700 degree would, in most cases, work just fine. Depending on the proximity of the structure to the Fire Dept. and the average response time, most fires get knocked down fairly quickly and even the ones which dont usually burn themselves out ( the most intense part of the fire that is) in just around 60 min. or so...depending of course on the size of the structure and fuel load. If you want the Max. protection, get the 2 hour rated, it would protect media as well in a typical structure fire situation. Sustained (over 1 hour) high temps are unusual except in exceptional circumstances and with heavy fuel loads ( literally tons of combustables).
              My safe is a 1 hour rated unit and I am quite comfortable with that. I would strongly advise you to consider some sort of fire resistant storage unit. Besides the fire and smoke, water damage is also a concern and due to the personal value associated with photos, not having secure storage for photos left in your care is just inviting disaster. By checking at some of the larger discount stores you can often find brand name units at "loss leader" prices, but the cost is really secondary..if you keep a customers photos, you really should have a safe storage area to prevent any problems....just my somewhat paranoid thoughts though....Tom

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              • #8
                Thanks Tom, I really appreciate the knowledgable reply! And paranoia likes company (or is it that paranoia feeds on paranoia)? In any case, I imagine you've got some real concern with brush and/or forest fires up in Montana too right now - not to mention the "normal" risk of a typical house fire.
                Jeanie

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                • #9
                  We just got some much needed rain, but Grass fires are a real fear here...its not unusual to get 10,000 acres going up in flames and the only good thing is that due to the lack of people, very few buildings get destroyed...ILast year the fires in Glacier Park dropped ash on us here, and we are about 230 miles from there! I just hope you folks get some rain soon...grass fires are bad enough, Forest fires are just plain horrifying!!
                  Anyhow, when it comes to fire safety there is no such thing as Paranoia...just Prudence!! Tom

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                  • #10
                    This is a pretty interesting thread, and something to think about whether you have other people's property or not. What is the typical interior size of the safes?

                    Ed

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                    • #11
                      Ed, the Sentry fire safes seem to range from small chests to 2 cu. ft. At least that's true for the ones Office Depot carries. Check this link for more info on the ones they sell.
                      Jeanie

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                      • #12
                        Thanks Jeanie. I was a little surprised at part of the info on the site. "Damage to computer media can occur at temperatures as low as 125°F and 80% humidity." t sure doesn't take much.

                        Ed

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                        • #13
                          Well, I just ordered a fire safe at Office Max. They just happened to be having a sale such that the 2 Cu Ft. Business safe (rated for 2 hours at 1700) was actually less than the 1.2 Cu. Ft. version. Luckily, OfficeMax will deliver it for free (it was over $50) because it weighs 200 pounds and it's going upstairs. Once it's in place, I don't think I'll be moving it around too much.

                          For those interested (and living near an Office Max), the 1-hour 1.2 Cu. Ft. home version is also on sale. Sale ends Saturday.

                          Jeanie

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                          • #14
                            I'm not in business at this time. I would like to do retouching as a side gig someday. I'm looking at one of the larger gun safes. Since my daughter is getting more and more mobile and being from Texas, yes I do have guns in the house. I think a gun safe would work for dual purposes.

                            Steve

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                            • #15
                              A gun safe would be as close to ideal as one could get....not easy to pick up, pretty much airtight,fire resistant and using the "dehumidifier" packets would keep the RH at a good level. Plus allowing an ingenious type to sneak a new gun into the collection now and then without the Wife noticing.....Tom

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