Fireproof storage for an apartment dweller?
February 16, 2010 11:47 AM   Subscribe

I have a lot of paper - journals, art, etc. Fire makes me nervous! Are there any good fireproof/fire resistant storage options for an apartment dweller?

I have a lot of paper history in my apartment - years' worth of journals, artwork I've done for professional purposes, photos, etc. - so I get really nervous when I think of fire taking it all out.

There's the idea of scanning everything and storing the files off-site (an awesome idea but could take ages, and I still want to keep the originals safe). I'd also really like some kind of fireproof or fire resistant storage. However, all the options I've found are tiny lockboxes for a handful of documents or industrial solutions that seem more appropriate for offices.

Does anyone have any fireproof storage suggestions for apartment-dwellers? I'm especially interested in hearing from artists about how they keep their works safe.
posted by cadge to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I kept a lot of important documents, like my birth certificate and passport in a Sentry safe. When my apartment building caught fire about a month ago, they all survived without any damage. I would recommend their products based on that experience. They have a range of products. I'm sure you can find something useful on their Web site. I'm eyeing a fireproof filing cabinet myself for my new place.
posted by dortmunder at 12:02 PM on February 16, 2010

I was going to suggest you get a fire-proof safe from an office supply store, but since you dont seem to want that, your best bet would be storeing the originals offsite, like in a the smallest storage unit you can find. Public Storage is usaully mostly concrete and metal doors, so maybe fire would be less of a concern there.
posted by WeekendJen at 12:03 PM on February 16, 2010

Safe deposit box at a bank? That's what a lot of people use for storage of valuable documents.
posted by electroboy at 12:14 PM on February 16, 2010

Given how much paper you seem to have, it might be better to bump up your apartment's overall fire safety - install good smoke alarms, keep an extinguisher handy, maybe get a sprinkler system - to prevent fires in the first place than to spend lots of money on fireproof storage (I had a quick look online, and fireproof cupboards seem to cost $1500+ at least).
posted by fearthehat at 12:21 PM on February 16, 2010

Response by poster: Fireproof safe - I'd be up for one if it's big enough!

Most of the storage options I've found have been either "small black box the size of a dictionary, good for passports and birth certificates and that's about it" or "big wall-sized filing cabinets for corporate use". I might not have been using the right keywords for searching, though.
posted by cadge at 12:24 PM on February 16, 2010

Response by poster: About my apartment - I'm a renter. The building owners seem to be very good about fire prevention (sprinklers, smoke alarms, extinguishers in the hallway, fire department alert system). I just want to go the extra distance for protection and for peace of mind.
posted by cadge at 12:30 PM on February 16, 2010

Try looking for a used gun safe on craigslist. A lot of those are fire resistant. A new safe will probably run you around $600 or so, more if you want a longer period of fire resistance. The ratings are usually given in "X hours @ X,000 degrees".
posted by electroboy at 12:38 PM on February 16, 2010

Here's some information on selecting fireproof storage.
posted by jeri at 10:16 PM on February 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

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